The Basics of Creating an Online Presence for Your Brand

Written By Robert Harrington

Gone are the days where an online presence was limited to technology-related businesses. In today’s hyperconnected world, an online presence is a must—not an option. No matter what industry you’re in, whether you’re a startup or are an established brand, having an online presence can positively impact your business. If you don’t know where to start, know that the first step is simply deciding to have an online presence. After that, the best place to start is getting a website. Here are some tips to help you move forward: Why Build a Website? Social media may be all the rage, but nothing beats your own website. Social media may seem like a more worthy spend of your online minutes because of the potential for a high quantity of likes and engagement. But when you sign up for a new social media account, content visibility will depend on the social site’s algorithms. Perhaps your content is doing well at the moment, but inevitably, social sites switch algorithms to lessen visibility so that businesses will buy ad space to stay front and center. With a website, everything is yours to own and control. Additionally, having a website makes your business look... Read More


Best Practices for Safely Backing Up Data

Written By Robert Harrington

Besides the increase in security and data breaches, data loss is up 400% from 2012. Although this does not bode well for a company’s customers, companies also have a lot at stake when it comes to data loss. According to the National Archives & Records Administration, 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more during a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. Additional research from the University of Texas has also found that 43% of companies that suffer catastrophic data loss never reopen, and 51% close within two years. While there may be various reasons for data loss, there is a simple way to prevent devastating data loss: create backups. However, 58% of businesses have no backup plan for data loss. Here are some of the best practices for safely backing up data. Backup Data Regularly Although the amount of data may vary per company, they share a common denominator: whatever is stored frequently changes as data is created and/or modified on a regular basis. This is why it is important to frequently backup data. Data can be backed up hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Choose a backup schedule... Read More


Why You Should Hire an All-In-One Technology Solutions Provider

Written By Robert Harrington

The trend today tends to lean towards niche businesses, which are businesses that target a specific demographic or specialize in a certain field. Niche businesses are popular because although they narrow down the target demographic, they often see a higher conversion rate. They get more sales for less effort when considering the possibility of marketing to a larger set of customers. Although the idea of a niche business sounds appealing (and many people find success in niching down), it may not work for every market. Certainly, there are situations where people benefit greatly from a business that covers all their needs: a one-stop shop. The Benefits of All-in-One Business Solutions A one-stop shop is a business that handles multiple related needs for customers. One-stop shops are usually associated with places like convenience stores, sporting goods stores, or department stores — but they can also actually apply to services. Beauty salons and event coordinators (offering rentals, catering, and venue access) are examples of service businesses that work based off of this concept. Another example of a service business that has great potential for being a one-stop shop is a... Read More


Why It’s Better to Leave Installations to Your Technology Solutions Provider

Written By Robert Harrington

When people need home or office hardware and systems installed, they do one of two things: They either ask an expert and accredited solutions provider for a quote, or think about doing it themselves—especially when the quote seems too high and the job seems easy enough. Manufacturers have made technology more accessible and easier to use, so that end users can purchase their items and DIY the installation process. Thanks to websites like Amazon, customers have access to ordered items as soon as the next day. However, many people underestimate the skill necessary to correctly install their home or office systems and still end up calling a technology solutions provider for help. A Faulty DIY Process In an ideal world, the customer buys the right product for their needs and the installation goes smoothly. However, more often than not, the customer ends up buying the wrong product, with specifications that are a mismatch for their requirements. The end result? Instead of saving money and having their system installed in a timely manner as planned, they may have to repurchase needed items, then wait for these new items to arrive before the technology provider can install them. These... Read More


Why You Should be Using a VPN

Written By Robert Harrington

It’s not uncommon in today’s entertainment to come across a scene where one of the characters is able to gain access or retrieve sensitive information by hacking through security systems or computers. As they say, fiction mirrors reality—so what happens on TV is definitely based on what is happening in real life. Whether people are aware of it or not, there is always someone watching and trying to steal personal information for their own gain. In this current day and age of the internet, it shouldn’t take a serious data breach (like the much-publicized Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal) for people to take action when it comes to their data privacy, especially when there is an easy way to keep data and internet browsing sessions safe. It’s called a virtual private network (VPN). What is a VPN? A VPN, or virtual private network, allows users to access a secure private network and share data remotely, even while they’re connected to a public network. To visualize how a VPN works, imagine a secret tunnel that leads you to an end destination without running into any unwanted hitches. Usually the route takes more time, but it gets you to your destination safely.... Read More


4 Things Small Businesses Should Do to be GDPR-Compliant

Written By Robert Harrington

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was implemented effective May 25, 2018, was created primarily to give European Union (EU) citizens more control over their personal data, as well as to simplify things for international businesses by providing a unified regulation that they can easily follow. But if you think that the GDPR is only limited to European websites, you’re wrong: it applies to all websites that processes and store data of EU citizens, which is why you’re suddenly receiving all these emails detailing changes in terms and policies. The GDPR comes with hefty fines for non-compliant businesses. Now that the GDPR has been implemented, here are some things small businesses need to do in order to be GDPR-compliant. #1: Know the Data you Process The GDPR primarily covers personal and sensitive data, though it also includes other types of data in its scope (such as big data). Knowing which visitor/customer data you collect, where it comes from, and where it’s going can make all the difference, especially if you’re questioned for breaching the regulation. Note that ignorance is not going to cut it as an excuse. If you haven’t yet, review the... Read More


GDPR Basics for Tucson Businesses: What You Need to Know

Written By Robert Harrington

On May 25, 2018, the European Union’s (EU’s) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into full force. It is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years, replacing the the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. While seeking to give the citizens of 28 EU countries more control over their personal data, at the same time, GDPR simplifies data regulations for both local and international businesses with a unified regulation that stands in the EU. Despite the fast-approaching implementation date, there is still much confusion surrounding the GDPR, especially in terms of what it means and what businesses should do about it. In fact, it was found that 84% of SMEs are still unaware of these policies, which might have something to do with the fact that the entire policy is 200 pages long. With this in mind, Gartner predicts that by the end of 2018, more than 50% of companies will not be in full compliance with its requirements. As a business owner, here are the basics you need to know about the GDPR. What is the GDPR? In a nutshell, the GDPR looks out for the data privacy of individuals by requiring businesses and organizations to... Read More


How to Protect Your Personal Information on Facebook

Written By Robert Harrington

With up to 87 million Facebook users’ personal information harvested and passed on to Trump-affiliated political firm Cambridge Analytica, which used it to target voters in the 2016 presidential election, people throughout the world are scrambling to better understand how to protect their personal information on Facebook and other social media outlets. Before beginning to lock down your account, it’s a good idea to know whether or not your data was shared without your knowledge. This can be done either by waiting for the slow rollout of Facebook notifications that the company promises to post to your News Feed or you can check on it yourself through Facebook’s online Help Center. What You’re Sharing Your Information With After you’ve checked if your data was given to Cambridge Analytica, you’ll want to go ahead and see which apps and websites have access to your personal information. This can be done by going into your settings, and then clicking on “Apps and Websites.” Wired explains, “If you do find apps there that you want to remove—it’s amazing how many you can pile up over the years—keep in mind that they can still hold onto your data after you... Read More


3 Password Management Tools For Your Business

Written By Robert Harrington

This might sound obvious, but many people forget that secure passwords are essential to your business. Not only do you have the need to protect your company’s information but are often responsible for protecting client’s information. Failing to do either of these can be detrimental. Businesses, which often have more than one employee who needs to be able to log in to an account or program, have a unique issue when it comes to password protection. Your data is only as safe as the weakest password in the system. Though you might have no problem avoiding the most popular—therefore least secure—passwords of 2017, you might still want to go beyond your personal ability to create super-secure passwords and rely on a password manager for keeping your company on lockdown. The Equifax Data Breach, which exposed more than 140 million American users’ personal information (including social security numbers), inspired huge numbers of people to begin sifting through the dozens of password managers available for one that would work best for them. To simplify your own research process, here are the top three password management tools for your business. The LastPass(word) You’ll Ever... Read More


How to Create a Strong Password

Written By Robert Harrington

One of my quirks is an uncanny ability to create nearly impenetrable passwords. Are the passwords I create for my clients quick to type and easy to remember? No. But they offer the type of data protection I demand for my clients. When I received a report recently with the most popular passwords of 2017, I couldn’t help but shake my head. I have a feeling that, if you know anything about cyber security, you’ll have the same reaction. Here are the top 10, according to SplashData: 123456 password 12345678 Qwerty 12345 123456789 letmein 1234567 football iloveyou Number 16 on the list was an interesting addition for 2017, so it’s worth mentioning too. It was “starwars.” Now, I love Star Wars and football just as much as the next guy, and I can relate to the frustration of just wanting to get let in to an account, but to use these words and number series as a password is asking for trouble. If you’re tempted to steal from this list of passwords because they’re easy to type and remember, I urge you to think twice. Here are a few tips from yours truly, the password fanatic, on how to... Read More