Our February Client of the Month is Ira Katzenstein, Executive Director of Cattaraugus & Wyoming Project Head Start. He has been administering the entire program for the area’s children and families since 1985 and began working with Databranch shortly thereafter.
Our partnership began at the dawning of the computer age when offices began to implement computers and Head Start needed a unique monitor to accommodate someone’s vision impairment and our relationship has been ongoing ever since. Throughout the years Ira recalled, “We have looked at other providers and have not found a comparable service. When the chips are down, Databranch is here for us and that’s critical. I have an obligation to get the largest value for our organization and I believe we receive that from the Databranch team. When something happens a technician is here at our office working to resolve the issue and that’s something you’ve consistently provided during the years we’ve worked together.”
From Ira’s perspective the biggest benefits Head Start receives as a Comprehensive Care client are, “Knowing that we are as up to date with technology as we can be within our budgetary constraints. We have a system in place that has grown with us and will continue to grow and evolve. I have peace of mind knowing that we’re on the right course and in good hands.” Jeff Bussard, Databranch Account Manager, emphasized how fulfilling it is to work with an organization that values technology and is open to implementing new advancements when they become available. They were an early adopter of our Datto business continuity solution and have always recognized the importance of good security practices. On a personal level, we greatly enjoy working with the Head Start team because of their friendly, welcoming environment and great sense of humor.
The key to our longstanding relationship according to Ira, “The people. You have a heart and that’s important. You understand the nature of our organization and are willing to work with us within E-Rate compliance requirements. Overall, your customer service is just outstanding.”
To learn more about Cattaraugus Wyoming Project Head Start and how they serve our local community visit their website – http://headstartnetwork.com/
Here’s an important
question most businesses don’t think about: what would happen if your in-house
IT guru suddenly quit? Most business owners think it would only be a temporary inconvenience
when, in fact, the opposite is usually true. Want to know how much you are at
risk? Ask yourself the following 6 questions:
you have written network documentation about your computer network? What
software licenses do you own? What are the critical administrator passwords to
your systems and devices? How is your computer network structured? What
hardware do you own and when do your equipment warranties expire? Are there
cloud vendors for email, online storage, etc. that you don’t currently have?
You should NEVER allow a single IT person to keep this information under their
full control over your network and company. If they suddenly left for any
reason, this could lead to huge consequences for your company.
you know where your backup files are stored and if they are being stored
properly? If you are like most business owners,
you’re too busy dealing with the “crisis of the day” to think about system
backups and probably leave tasks to your internal expert. If your database gets
fried and your tech is nowhere to be found, you might be in a lot of trouble.
you have a written plan for restoring your network fast in the case of a
disaster? If you don’t have a fully tested
disaster recovery plan for your office, you could be at serious risk without
ever knowing it until something happens.
you know where all of your software is stored?
Bad things can happen to computers and servers, and the situation can be made
worse if you are not prepared. Taking a minute to organize and store your
software in a secure place can save you a considerable chunk of money in the
event that you need to restore a program on your systems. If you don’t have
access to the software or don’t know where it is located, you might be forced
to buy the software again.
you know what routine maintenance must be done to your network?
I know that the very idea of learning about and keeping track of all the
servers, workstations, and peripherals on your network probably gives you a
major headache, but it is important information to maintain. If your in-house
expert leaves, who will take over?
you know how to protect yourself from an ugly security breach if your in-house
computer expert leaves? What happens if your
in-house expert splits with no warning AND has access to your company’s
network? As soon as humanly possible, you should disable his or her access,
including remote access to y our network and all cloud based applications.
So how did you
do? If you answered “no” to even one of these questions, you need to get the
answers now before it’s too late. Click here to get started or call
716-373-4467 x 15 to speak with a Databranch Computer Expert!
Cyber Thieves Keep A-Knockin’ But They Can’t Come In. A study presented at the International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks showed that small-business networks are attacked every 39 seconds by some type of hacker or malicious software. Thankfully, having the proper firewall and office network security tools can prevent even the most determined cyber hacker from getting his hands on your network. Are your systems covered?
Downtime Should Be A Thing Of The Past. Thanks to monitoring and maintenance tools that are openly available, any reputable computer company can now actually notice when things go awry and prevent your computers from having issues. Hot fixes, patches and security updates are generally items that, when maintained on a regular basis, keep a network healthy and up and running. If, for some reason, your network still has some kind of downtime, cloud-based remote management tools allow you IT professional to access your system from anywhere, getting you up and running more quickly than ever before.
If Disaster Strikes, You Can Be Back Up & Running In Minutes Instead of Days. In addition to lost data, many businesses’ operations would be completely down for days or weeks if a major disaster like fire, flood or theft ever occurred. Here’s where Backup & Disaster Recovery solutions (BDR) can help you feel very thankful indeed. Most of today’s BDR solutions include a “virtualization” component, which means an exact “picture” of your server and computers is taken throughout the day and stored elsewhere. If you ever need to get back up and running, your IT company simply restores that image… and you’re back in business.
Want to feel thankful instead of frustrated with your computers? To claim your free disaster recovery assessment call 716-373-4467 x 15 or click here!
Our October Client of the Month is Peigi Cook, Director at Corning Children’s Center, a year round childcare and education setting serving up to 160 children from 6 weeks old to five years until they leave for kindergarten, located in Corning, NY. For over 20 years Peigi has led the Children’s Center and seen their data and technology needs grow and change tremendously.
In 2011, Databranch had the opportunity to respond to an RFQ the organization sent out and was chosen as their new provider. Peigi recalled, “We were looking for better documentation of what was being done to our network and a more proactive, engaged interface with our provider. When you hire someone to manage your technology you expect them to know more than you do and you want them to utilize their expertise to tell you what you should be thinking about. We chose Databranch based on their rigorous documentation and reporting on a sustained basis.”
The biggest benefit for the organization since becoming a Comprehensive Care client for Peigi has been, “No downtime and a sense that when work is done it’s done with a focus. Which means for us that when we have work done, we know it’s done right and that it will be done efficiently.” According to Peigi, the relationship has been relatively easy from the beginning and the key to our longstanding partnership is mutual respect, honesty, and an appreciation for the work each of us does. She stated, “You have always been really good at listening to who we are, our challenges, and working within the parameters we need to live in. I’m sure every client you work with has different operating environments and priorities and that’s never been an issue because you pay attention and value who we are. I wouldn’t be happy with someone that’s always trying to upsell us. You’ve been good at understanding that and working with us within our means. That counts a lot.”
One unique way we’ve worked with the Corning Children’s Center to aid their mission and maximize their IT budget is training their Operations Director, Delores Folk, to function as an internal super user, addressing easily fixed user issues. Peigi emphasized that this has enabled the organization to save money and our training expertise has been invaluable in bringing her team up to speed technically. To conclude our interview Peigi remarked, “We appreciate the quality of your staff. They’re smart. They’re respectful. They’re focused. They get the work done without glitches or hiccups.”
Databranch President, David Prince, had the following to say about our relationship, “It’s a pleasure to work with Peigi and her staff at Corning Children’s Center. Over the five years we’ve been working together we have collectively made enhancements and improvements to their technology infrastructure which has resulted in increased reliability and productivity for the staff. It is a privilege to partner with someone who cares so deeply about the mission of her organization.”
To learn more about the Corning Children’s Center and how you can support their mission to set the standard in early care and education by inspiring learners, leaders and dreamers visit their website http://www.corningchildrenscenter.com/supporters/
Our September Client of the Month was Kathy Miller, IT Manager, at Cameron Manufacturing & Design, a leading producer of metal fabrications, weldments, customer machinery, and engineering services located in Horseheads, NY. Kathy has been involved in many different aspects of IT at Cameron Manufacturing starting in a programing role, moving to customer service, and then transitioning to database management, all leading to her current Database and IT Administration/Management role.
In early 2015, Cameron Manufacturing had a very talented IT staff member that took a position at another company closer to his home, leaving the business with an IT void that needed to be filled quickly. Kathy recalled, “At that time, IT technicians with experience were very difficult to find. Databranch had the qualifications and talent to fill our needs. I had positive and successful interactions with my current contacts at Databranch and wanted to continue that relationship”
Databranch had been partnering with Cameron since 2008 for software renewals and we were excited when the opportunity arose to take our business relationship to the next level and welcome them as a Comprehensive Care Client. The biggest benefit for the organization according to Kathy has been, “Regular maintenance of our servers and client PC’s as well as an improved data recovery plan. I think Databranch is very responsive to our needs that fall inside and outside of our monthly service agreement.” Recently, one of the servers managed by Databranch was infected with Locky Ransomware, but because of our familiarity with their environment and their adoption of our preferred business continuity solution, Datto, we were able to identify and respond to the issue within the first fifteen minutes of the work day, restoring their server and all infected files by the end of the day with little disruption to users.
Since becoming a Comprehensive Care client, Kathy feels her peace of mind concerning the business’s technology has greatly improved. She knows that all work will get done in a timely manner without having to hire and have experts in multiple fields on staff. In regards to the Databranch team she says, “I think all the staff members are very prompt and have great qualifications to get done what is required at Cameron Manufacturing. There have been no issues with the staff, service, and support we receive from Databranch.”
Databranch Account Manager, Jeff Bussard, who has worked with Kathy for many years had the following to say about their relationship, “I like working with Kathy Miller from Cameron Manufacturing because she has a great attitude. When it comes to IT solutions, we are able to work together to find the right services or products to improve processes for Cameron Manufacturing and Cameron Bridge Works. We hold a level of trust that enables us to solve problems quickly and efficiently, which helps support the mission of the business and we look forward to partnering with them for their IT needs for many years to come.”
Strengthen your computer’s defenses. Keep all software (including your web browser) current with automatic updating (or follow the directions of IT staff). Install legitimate antivirus and anti-spyware software. Never turn off your firewall.
Don’t be tricked into downloading malicious software. Stop and think before you open attachments or click links in unusual email, text, or instant messages (IM), on social networks, or in random pop-up windows. If you’re unsure if a message is legitimate – even from a coworker – contact the sender to confirm using a different device and another account.
2) Protect company data and financial assets
Don’t put confidential information in email, instant, or text messages; they may not be secure.
Beware of scams. Never give information like an account number or password in response to a phone call, or email or other online request.
For the most sensitive transactions – Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, payroll, and the like – consider a dedicated computer not used for email or web browsing.
3) Create strong passwords and keep them private
Lock devices, company routers, and online accounts with strong passwords or PINs. Strong passwords are long phrases or sentences and mix capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
Don’t disclose passwords or PINs to coworkers.
Use a unique password on each account or device containing personal or business data, and change them regularly.
4) Guard company data when you’re on the go
Treat all public Wi-Fi networks as a security risk.
Choose the most secure option – it could include password-protection or encryption – even if you have to pay for it.
Confirm the exact spelling of the wireless network you’re connecting to – beware of clever (slightly misspelled) fakes, such as www.micrsoft.com.
Encrypt all confidential data on smartphones, laptops, flash drives, and other portable devices in case they’re lost or stolen.
Never make financial and other sensitive transactions on any device over public wireless networks.
Use flash drives carefully. Minimize the chance that you’ll infect your company network with malware:
Don’t put any unknown flash (or USB) drive into your computer.
On your flash drive, don’t open files that are not familiar.
What to do if there are problems
Using a web service
When using email, a social network, or other service, report:
Scams, obscene material, or aggressive behavior to the service. For example, in Microsoft services or software, look for a Report Abuse link or contact Databranch.
Any misrepresentation of your organization – for example, a phishing scam that pretended to be from your company – to your system administrator.
Theft or loss of company data or other assets
If sensitive company data or accounts have been compromised because of theft or loss of a laptop, smartphone, or other device, or because of a breach of network security or an account:
Report it immediately to IT or security personnel, if your organization has them, and to the bank, when appropriate.
Change all passwords used to log on to the device.
Contact the service provider for help in wiping the data from smartphones and other devices.
Our August Client of the Month is Steven Scribner, Controller at Mazza Mechanical Services, a full service commercial heating, ventilation, and mechanical contractor serving clients throughout the Southern Tier in Western New York and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Databranch has been proud to partner with Mazza for their IT needs since 2010 and as Steven says, “I’ve dragged Databranch everywhere I’ve worked because they have provided excellent service throughout the years.”
Shortly after we started working together, Mazza Mechanical Services became a Databranch Comprehensive Care client and Steven has seen many benefits for himself and Mazza. The first thing that came to his mind, “Less stress on me. You’re a phone call away and less than ten minutes away from our office. I have lots of peace of mind and through our quarterly business reviews we work on budgeting, planning, and being proactive which is greatly appreciated. That’s what we subscribe to with our customers and we like it when we get that same level of service.”
The key to our longstanding relationship according to Steven, “Communication and open dialogue. I’m able to call on a moment’s notice and take a half hour of Jeff or Karyn’s time and within a half hour at most, I have a technician working on my problem. You guys are nice, friendly, and you get the job done, always working until the project is complete”.
Databranch employee Jeff Bussard had the following to say about partnering with Mazza Mechanical Services, “I enjoy working with Mazza as their Account Manager because we have a real team approach to providing them the technical support that they need. It’s refreshing to work with a client that takes a strategic look at how IT can advance them in their field and provide them with real competitive advantages by adding value to the products and services that they offer to their customers.” At Databranch, we look forward to continuing to serve Mazza for many years to come and truly value the opportunity to work with a business that understands the importance of IT and utilizes technology at the highest level.
Let’s face it – no one likes to think about bad things happening to them, much less plan for them. But since September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, we wanted to give you a quick “brush-up” on some simple things you can (and should!) be doing to protect your business.
Review Your Business Insurance Carefully. Most businesses carry some type of general liability insurance that would pay them if their building and the things in it were damaged. However, many businesses do not have enough coverage to replace all the computer equipment and devices, desks, art, supplies and other things they’ve accumulated over the years that are housed in their office. Make sure you review your policy every year and keep in mind new additions and assets you’ve accumulated during that year.
Consider Cloud Computing. One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that your data and assets are stored off-site in a highly secure, high-availability data center, with failover and redundancy built in. That means that if your building were destroyed and you had to evacuate, or if your server melted down due to an unexpected hardware failure, everything you’ve worked so hard to create over the years is safe and not a sitting duck in your unsecured closet or server room.
Secure Your Data. Making sure your data is protected from theft is a never-ending battle you don’t want to lose. Companies that get hacked and expose sensitive client and employee data can face severe penalties, lawsuits and massive loss of credibility in the marketplace. Make sure you never have to send an e-mail to your customers explaining the bad news that a hacker accessed their info through you. Further, if you keep any sensitive information (even passwords to portals containing sensitive information) on portable laptops, phones and other devices, make sure you have a way of controlling and safeguarding that information.
Write A Simple Disaster Recovery Plan. The key word here is “simple.” If your plan gets too complicated or difficult, you won’t do it. But, at a minimum, think of the disaster that is most likely to happen and that would have a severe and negative impact on your company’s survival.
Review Your Employees’ Internet Policy. With so many people “addicted” to Facebook and Twitter, it’s important that your employees know where the line is in what they can and can’t post online. We also recommend content-filtering software to block content and websites you don’t want employees visiting during work hours.
Want help implementing any of the items on this list? Call us at 716-373-4467 ext. 15 during the month of September for a FREE 60-minute “Protect My Business” consultation to tackle any or all of the above.
Our July Client of the Month is Jackie Gregg, Controller at Control Chief, a manufacturer of industrial crane remote control and locomotive remote control solutions. We have had the pleasure of working with Jackie since the early days of Databranch and have enjoyed partnering with Control Chief for their IT needs since 2009. Our mission is to help our clients succeed through effective planning, implementation and management of their technology and as Jackie says in the video below, “What do I have? I have peace of mind. I can go on vacation for a week and know that my servers are going to run and my people are going to keep working. If there’s a problem all I have to do is pick up the phone and I’m going to have someone here onsite with the problem fixed and that’s well worth the price we pay you every month. Would I recommend Databranch? Highly.”
Recently, a few of our Office 365 Exchange Online clients have been receiving correspondence from Microsoft concerning the version of Outlook they are using. The message is Outlook 2007 and 2010 are out of mainstream support and their users might start experiencing reduced functionality. In this post, I’ll answer the two biggest questions we have been receiving from our clients, “What does this mean for me? and What do you recommend I do?”
What does the end of mainstream support for Outlook 2010 mean for my organization?
In general, there are two levels of end of support Microsoft products move into: End of Mainstream Support and End of Extended Support. When a product enters into the end of mainstream support it means Microsoft will no longer be releasing any non-security updates or new software design changes. The program will still function and is not a security risk to your network since Microsoft keeps releasing security fixes until the End of Extended Support date but because new features will not be added the software may not be as compatible with newer programs like Office 365 Exchange Online which is constantly being updated and improved to provide the highest level of service to subscription customers. This is why Microsoft is urging clients using their hosted email platform to upgrade their Outlook clients. Even though you will still be able to use Office 365 and connect to the platform for email, your experience will diminish over time and Microsoft won’t provide code fixes to resolve non-security related problems.
What does Databranch recommend our clients to do?
We recommend that organizations start upgrading their Outlook to a client that is still in Mainstream Support like Outlook 2013 or 2016 or start budgeting for Office upgrades. Like Windows 7, Outlook 2010 will be in Extended Support until 2020 and all users will want to be upgraded prior to the end of support date in October of that year.
Is your organization looking to migrate your email platform to Office 365? Databranch is a Microsoft Certified Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions Provider and is ready to assist with your migration. A Databranch Cloud Solutions specialist can be reached at 716-373-4467 ext. 15, email@example.com, or click here to get started.
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