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Archive for November, 2013

This headline may sound familiar from the old days of AT&T (i.e. Reach out and touch someone). Well, the days of the Baby Bells are in the history books; however, the messaging of staying connected and in front of people will never go the way of the Bells or the dinosaurs.

We hear it all the time: “Follow us on Twitter.” “Like us on Facebook.” “Connect with us on LinkedIn.” But in the shuffle of social media, one very important marketing tool should never be forgotten: email.

CTCT-guide to 5 ways email marketingEmail may not be the newest tool, but it is the one with the broadest reach. And with Email Marketing from Constant Contact you’ll reach current and potential customers where they are everyday-their inbox.Email Marketing helps you connect with current and future customers. And stronger connections turn customers into fans, even raving fans. When you engage your fans through valuable, relevant messages, you build repeat business and referrals-boosting your bottom line.
One of the easiest and cost-effective methods for being in front of  your clients, prospects and alliances is by using the tool of e-mail marketing.

Don’t have a long email list? No problem. Constant Contact has the tools to get people to sign up through social sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

And as a Constant Contact Solution Provider, I’ve got the expertise, training and tools to help you grow your list and your business.

CTCT solution provider

So check out 5 Ways Email Marketing Will Grow Your Business to learn how you can succeed with Email Marketing, then give me a call to see how I can help you convert prospects into customers.

CTCT-button-start free trial

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security_shield400For a solid month we have heard about the CryptoLocker virus. It’s not your ordinary virus that slows down your computer. The cybercriminals behind this dastardly virus have wreaked havoc on businesses worldwide. How can this be? We hope that you have not been affected by this directly or indirectly. But, just in case, you need to know about this threat.

Why is this infection of your computer and network different than other viruses or ransomware threats?

CrytptoLocker puts a password on all your files (documents, pictures, QuickBooks files and more) which means they become encrypted, strongly encrypted. The goal of this potentially devastating virus is to hold your data ransom where you typically have up to three days (72 hours) to pay up or lose your data on your computer or even server. From what we have learned from others is that an email shows up in your Inbox with an attachment. The first go-round of this virus (when it came out in October) would have attachments in the forms of jpeg, pdf, zip or Microsoft Office files. Last week the emails were appearing with a voicemail file with a spoofed email (an email address that looks familiar but the sender wasn’t who you thought it was).

There are 5 ways that you can reduce the risk of being held ransom by this insufferable CryptoLocker virus:

  1. Be educated. The measures you take and that CMIT Solutions of Denver takes to protect your data and technology environment are not full-proof because the human factor is involved.  Be wary of all emails with attachments, even from those you love and have as colleagues.
  2. Make sure that you have an Intrusion Prevention System in the form of a next-generation firewall. There are domains and IP addresses from which the virus emanates and an intelligent, managed firewall can be a deterrent to the virus invading your computers, servers and network.
  3. Whitelisting and Group Policies can be put into place or tweaked to adjust to this ransomware threat. Ask your IT support team if the whitelisting in place can prevent the virus from being executed (it’s an executable or .exe file under the guise of a jpeg, pdf…). In server environments group policies can be “pushed” or applied to all users on the network that could prevent the end user from opening an executable file.
  4. Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam and Malwarebytes Software. This should be a slam dunk prevention action. Make sure that these three types of software have the most current updates. Once again, there is not a 100% guarantee by us or anyone that you won’t get infected; however, being proactive  will increase your odds of staying safe.
  5. Backup your data. Regardless of this horrible ransomware threat, your company needs to be backing up your data on a frequent basis and restoring files on a regular basis to make sure that the data is recoverable. The existence of CryptLocker just enhances and magnifies the need to review how your data is being backed up and that your business critical data is protected in multiple locations (onsite and offsite).

We want our clients to be productive and profitable and to be able to sleep at night. Invest the time needed to speak with your IT support team to review what is in place to guard you, your company and its livelihood from danger.

Capture-CryptoLocker emailHere is an image of an email I received on 11/13/13 and I knew immediately that it was the CryptoLocker virus because of the zip file attachment and the email doesn’t exist.

Should your computer get this form of ransomware, you have a couple of options: pay the ransom of a few hundred dollars (in BitCoin currency) and hope that the files get encrypted or you can restore from a backup. Once again, we cannot stress enough the importance of data backups with integrity.

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Gremlins

1. 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.

2. Downtime Should Be A Thing Of The Past. Thanks to proactive 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 your IT professional to access your system from anywhere, getting you up and running more quickly than ever before.

3. 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? Call us before November 30, 2013 for a FREE Problem Prevention Network Audit (a $497 value) that will help eliminate problems on your network and give you peace of mind.  CALL 303-756-2648 NOW!

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Since Hanukkah starts really early during this holiday season (Wednesday night, November 27th), I thought it wise to “reprint” this article that was in my November hard copy newsletter to give you ample time to consider my suggestion for a holiday gift to yourself or for someone else.

It’s no secret that CMIT Solutions of Denver loves solutions and devices that come from our alliance partner, Microsoft. Whether it’s Office 365 (hosted Exchange and a lot more), Windows 8 operating system, Windows smartphone, the new Xbox One that’s coming out later this month (let your kids or the kid in you know) or the Surface Pro, we are raving fans.

SurfacePro2For the purposes of this article, I suggest that you rise above the fray from a business worker’s perspective with the Surface Pro 2.

Microsoft fixed and enhanced the specs from the original Surface Pro within a year’s time by:

  • Extending the battery life by 75% (this is big and necessary to compete).
  • Installing an Intel Core i5 processor that makes the Pro 2 run fast when using the Windows and Office programs and more.
  • Expanding the flexibility of the built-in kickstand so it sets nicely on a table and now on your lap
  • Making the Pro 2 a combination of a tablet and a full-on computer because it can plug into bigger displays to give you a multi-monitor setup, connect to Ethernet, connect with an USB adapter and a docking station.

Curious? Envious? Intrigued? So, go visit our local Microsoft Store at Park Meadow or visit the Surface Pro website:

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-us/products/overview

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