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, firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to get started.
Our June Client of the Month is Mary Comstock, Treasurer at Dura-Bilt Products, Inc., a manufacturer of aluminum products including awnings, sun rooms, screen rooms, storm windows, and doors. Dura-Bilt has been in business since 1958 and Databranch has had the pleasure of partnering with them for their IT needs since 2004 and their DSL days. The key to our longstanding relationship according to Mary, “You guys treat us very well. It’s the service that we’ve gotten that keeps us here with you and loyal. If you see an issue you’re reaching out to us immediately to get it resolved. You’re more of a proactive than reactive provider and I feel like family in the sense that we know about each other’s personal lives outside of business relationships. Can you go someplace else and find IT cheaper, probably, but will they give you the same service probably not.”
Since becoming a Databranch Comprehensive Care client Dura-Bilt has seen many benefits including speed of reaction time, employee productivity, and peace of mind. From Mary’s perspective, “When we have an issue it’s addressed very quickly which really makes a big difference. I can call and talk to someone immediately and I don’t think I’ve ever waited more than an hour for a response. Employee productivity has gone up because we have less downtime from computer issues and everything seems to run smoothly. Just knowing I have people out there who are very knowledgeable and take care of our needs very quickly gives me peace of mind that we can get back into business processes very quickly”
One memorable service challenge our businesses worked through together occurred in 2011 when the Dura-Bilt office flooded. During our interview Mary recalled, “We needed to setup a makeshift office and you guided us through what steps we should take to make sure that we kept any damage to a minimum and it worked. We were back up and running the next day. We had computers in the break room, walls were torn down, and we were working at coffee tables but I give a lot of credit to your team for being there for us and walking us through all the steps we needed to take to make it through that.”
Databranch makes it a priority to stay up-to-date with the latest technology especially in the area of business continuity and Mary emphasized how valuable this is to her and Dura-Bilt. “Your team is always looking at what the next step is before I would even think of it. For example with the Datto, our latest device for backups. We always had an in-house backup and we’d have to take the drive out and off-premises and now we don’t need to worry about that since we have the cloud backup and the Datto machine itself. You guys are always one step ahead of us which says a lot.”
When asked about Databranch’s relationship with Dura-Bilt, Databranch President David Prince had the following to say, “We are grateful for our long standing partnership with Mary and Dura-Bilt Products. They are truly one of our favorite clients and a pleasure to work with. If a measure of success is the quality and strength of the relationships you develop along the way, we have a very successful relationship with Dura-Bilt and we look forward to continuing to serve them.”
Small businesses are under attack. Right now, extremely dangerous and well-funded cybercrime rings in China, Russia and the Ukraine are using sophisticated software systems to hack into thousands of small businesses to steal credit cards, client information, and swindle money directly out of your bank account. Some are even being funded by their own government to attack small, virtually defenseless businesses.
Don’t think you’re in danger because you’re “small” and not a big target like a Target or Home Depot? Think again. 82,000 NEW malware threats are being released every single day and HALF of the cyber-attacks occurring are aimed at small businesses; you just don’t hear about it because it’s kept quiet for fear of attracting bad PR, lawsuits, data-breach fines and out of sheer embarrassment.
In fact, the National Cyber Security Alliance reports that one in five small businesses have been victims of cybercrime in the last year – and that number is growing rapidly as more businesses utilized cloud computing, mobile devices and store more information online. Quite simply, most small businesses are low-hanging fruit to hackers due to their lack of adequate security systems.
As a local IT support company, we work day and night to protect our clients from these attacks – and unfortunately we see, on a regular basis, hardworking entrepreneurs being financially devastated by these lawless scumbags – We are determined to WARN as many businesses as possible of the VERY REAL threats facing their organization so they have a chance to protect themselves and everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Free Report Reveals The Critical Protections Small Businesses Need Today
We want to do everything that we can to stop cybercrime, so we have put together a FREE Executive Report titled “7 Urgent Security Protections Every Business Should Have In Place Now” that we have made available at no charge here on our website at www.databranch.com/sittingduck.
Are you thinking about moving all or parts of your computer network “to the cloud” but worried about who can access your data? You’re not alone – but many security experts, software companies and cloud service providers alike agree that cloud computing offers a MORE secure way to store data. In fact, the US government’s cyber security adviser Howard Schmidt has said that cloud computing will enable businesses to catch up on security issues.
That’s because most small businesses do NOT have high-security measures in place for their data onsite and lack tight password protection policies, firewall management and backup procedures. The same business owners who verbalize their concern about putting their data in the cloud are backing up their entire network to a tape drive and leaving it in their car over night – or are using weak passwords for important access points to their network, which are much bigger security risks than storing it in a highly secure, highly redundant cloud platform. that;s like saying you’d rather stuff your money into a mattress at home than keep it in a bank because you’re not sure who can see and touch your money.
Here are the top 5 security questions you must know the answers to if you’re going to trust your data in the cloud:
Who outside of my company will have access to my data?
What security measures are in place whenever a mobile device or laptop is lost or stolen?
What frequency is my data backed up (and where is it backed up)?
What happens if my cloud provider goes out of business? What’s the backup plan?
Where is my data actually located?
Of course, with any data storage there is risk and there’s no way to completely guarantee absolute security. That said, most cloud providers are far more diligent about security and invest millions of dollars into ensuring all aspects of security are as tight as possible. We have spent a considerable amount of time investigating various cloud solutions and vendors for our clients.
Want more information on cloud security and what to look for in your business? Reach out to a Databranch Security Expert at 716-373-4467 ext. 15 or email@example.com
Our May Client of the Month is Kamala Keeley, President of the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce, a member based organization serving the business community of Chemung County and the Southern Tier. Databranch has partnered with the Chamber to ensure their technology never interferes with their mission to represent the business community in the promotion of prosperity and quality of life throughout their service area. We began working together in 2006 when the independent contractor they had previously been working with was moving out of the area and Kamala remembers, “As an organization, we wanted to take our technology to the next level to have a more secure and reliable infrastructure as more and more of our workflow moved to a shared network of computers”
Since becoming a Databranch Comprehensive Care client in 2008 the Chamber has seen many benefits. According to Kamala, “We now have the benefits of an IT Department without having the expense of a full time IT technician on staff. We experience very little down time in our work flow which is incredibly important and our network is secure. Employee productivity has improved simply because employees experience less down time due to technical issues. We work from a cloud, so it’s very important that we are able to access the cloud at all times and that our technology works for us. We also save all documents to a shared server, which has a secure backup, and this means that it is easier for employees to work cooperatively on projects because everyone has immediate access to those projects.”
The Chemung County Chamber of Commerce was an early adopter of our preferred business continuity solution, Datto, which proved its value in 2013 when they experienced a server failure and ran their business on the Datto device for two weeks. David Prince, President of Databranch says, “Under the old model of backup/recovery on a “best efforts” basis, this situation would have resulted in a costly loss of productivity and high stress for our client. Instead our business continuity plan worked as designed and this potential disaster was just a bump in the road.” Kamala added, “We’ve had to work from our backup when we did experience a major technical issue and it made all the difference being able to keep working as an office- and working securely- while the situation was fixed. Furthermore, our members experienced no hiccup in service, which is important to us and necessary for us as an organization.”
Through our relationship with the Chemung Chamber, we have been able to expand our presence in the Corning/Elmira area and despite the distance between our offices Kamala feels, “Databranch is always very responsive to our needs and quick to take action. Even though we are about 2 hours from their office, they are able to remote in to work on issues and send technicians in person when needed. Plus the staff is very professional and friendly.” Databranch thanks Kamala and the Chemung County Chamber of Commerce for our long-standing business relationship and looks forward to the opportunity to continue working together.
During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from office sprinklers, and even theft is very real.
One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data. Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot!
As a reminder to all of our clients and friends, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.
Back Up Your Data Remotely! Everyone knows that data should be backed up on a daily basis, but many people still use in-house backup systems that will get damaged in a natural disaster or fire, and can easily be stolen. We recommend backing up all data to an off-site location, and we offer this as a service to our clients.
Use a Quality Surge Protector With Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery. A high quality surge protector combined with an uninterruptible power supply battery backup will go a long way in protecting sensitive electronic equipment from surges and other electronic irregularities that can destroy your computer’s circuitry.
Make Sure Your Servers Are Off The Floor Or In The Cloud. If your office gets flooded, having your equipment off the floor will prevent it from being completely destroyed. Server racks can be purchased and installed very inexpensively. Or consider moving your critical server equipment to the cloud and be protected no matter the weather!
Have A Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Plan. Every business should have some type of plan in place for continued operation after a disaster. Would people know where to go? Who to call? How to log in and access data remotely? Hopefully you’ll never need it, but having a simple plan will make you sleep a lot easier at night knowing you have a way to continue to operate when disaster strikes.
FREE Report: The 10 Disaster Planning Essentials For Any Small Business
Don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in an instant! This report will reveal important planning strategies you should have in place now to protect yourself from common data-erasing disasters including natural hazards, human error, cyber criminals, hardware failure, software corruption and other IT failures.
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