While it’s merely a prediction right now, small businesses are likely to adopt the concept of big data analytics. Over the next few years, it is very likely that as a small business owner you could end up investing more in the big data arena, and it’s not unusual that small business look at increasing some aspect of their technology to make progress.

Technology is a part of every day life, but for the small business owner it’s helping them do more in less time at a lower cost. Even if you are running a one man show, or even a two to three man show, you need tools that can help you move through data when you don’t have the time.

How is it possible? The tools that most business owners once thought were only used by data scientists are now for the small fry too. The major difference is that how those tools are used has been simplified so that any employee of your company can use it.

Today, we’ll share with you how big data analytics can play a vital role in everything you do for your small business, and how California Computer Services can help you stay up to date in 2015.

big data analytics

Have You Adopted the Idea of Big Data Analytics?

The word programming may sound kind of nerdy,but in reality it’s just one more word to add to the verbiage of what you do everyday.

Simplifying the process of accessing data is ideal, because a small business typically has fewer hands on deck, and needs more jobs delegated to the right people.

This is also a time factor. With tons of data and only a few people in the business, you need a tool that can do some of this stuff for you. Well worth it? It is if you plan to focus on serving people.

This means that :

1. Accessing information from devices connected to the internet is easier.

2. Sifting through large amounts of data is easier and you can do it faster.

3. Remove barriers that allow you to do business from ideas you’ve had for far too long.

Ideas are great, but being able to take those ideas and turn them into money is what counts. This is another big reason why these tools are necessary. You can spend all the time in the world you want to on things you think will save you time and money, but until you have the right tools you’ll be wasting valuable time on things that take you away from running your business.

Is the cloud included in this big data analytics mission?

Actually, it is. The cloud is viable means of helping you store information, and it gives you the ability to access your data from anywhere when you need to. Where does this leave you now?

Don’t try to do it all alone when you don’t have too. Small business trends are something you need to tune into. What is your competition doing that works? How can we help?

If you would like to learn more about how California Computer Services can help you reach your goals where big data analytics is concerned, please CONTACT US today to get your consultation scheduled!

During the year 2014, multiple small businesses spent thousands trying to protect themselves against cyber threats but yet cyber security didn’t prove to be any more stringent than it was prior.

Regardless of how many accreditations a vendor has, it won’t make up for what they weren’t able to do to help you protect your network security. So, what comes next?

This year, 2015, the number of attacks will continue to grow, which means that you’ll need to be prepared if you haven’t taken those steps already. How can you keep from spending money on the wrong tools to prevent these attacks?

Today, we’ll talk about why these attacks still occur, and what you should know before you spend another dime on cyber security.
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Three Common Threat Actors on Cyber Security

Chances are you know what common threats are a part of cyber security, but just in case you didn’t know, there are the three most common.

1. Nation states.

2. Cyber criminals.

3. Cyber hackers.

These hackers are sophisticated, and they know what they are doing. Their job is to break in and steal what they have been targeting for some time, so it’s no surprise that small businesses are still having problems even when the money has been spent for an upgrade in security.

Nation states are always looking for ways to easily access information for the sake of espionage, while cyber criminals are always in it for the financial gain. Hackers want financial gain too, but they are easily amused with their own antics when it comes to getting into someone’s personal safe of electronic files.

It would be safe to say that politics has stirred up most of the activity online. These cyber criminals are working quickly, and as the popularity of Bitcoin spreads, they are working around the clock to figure out how to dismantle what was believed to be a safe way to transfer money, and all without fees or interference of any kind.

Securing your small business means that you’ll need more than a firewall. Tools are becoming more sophisticated for these hackers, and you won’t want to be unprepared when they strike. Do you just rely on a simple firewall for your protection?

What could California Computer Services do differently to show you that you don’t have to be victim to security breaches?

A Better Way to Have Cyber Security

More money doesn’t really equal a solution, however, money can buy you some protection. Here is what your organization should know before you make a decision on your security.

1. Make sure that the defense you opt for is led by intelligence rather than a low cost or hearsay. This means that you need to work with a vendor that will analyze your organization and how you operate on a daily basis for your business. What are your potential loopholes or challenges?

2. Hone in on detection and response. Protection isn’t the only thing you need to look at. If you focus on how to detect the right type of threat with the right tools, you’ll get the right protection.

3. Treat this as risk to your business. This isn’t just about IT. These threats are about your business and what you can do better to make sure nothing can sabotage it.

4. What are your most important assets? Don’t leave it to chance. Make an assessment of your most important assets are and make sure you have a way to protect them. Take a look at your budget and see what makes sense. Then go for it.

These are all great ideas, but we can help you avoid security breaches like major retailers suffered in 2014. Don’t let this happen to your business. If you would like to learn more about we can help you at California Computer Services, please CONTACT US today and we’ll focus on helping you enhance your cyber security.

 

 

Small business security needs are often underestimated by managed services providers around the country. California Computer Services understands that your security needs are no less important than that of larger organizations.

While you may have 100 employees or less, that doesn’t mean that your security needs are any less important than that of large organizations. Trend Micro, one of our vendors that we rely on heavily for help in this area knows that your small business is anything but small.

In fact, a recent survey that they performed proves that the need is strong for the small business owner to put their security needs at the top of the list. Information they gathered from more than 300 small businesses helped them determine what is most important when it comes to protecting the small business.

What are some ideal security solutions? Today, we’ll share with you what Trend Micro discovered, and how you can take your small business security into your own hands and protect your business. small business security

Small Business Security Needs Ideal Solutions

Problems deserve solutions, and security can be a real problem if you don’t have a solution. If you could have the ideal security in place, what would it be?

1. Employees working remotely is now more popular which means they need security.

2. Mobile yet flexible security is needed, and it must be readily available.

3. Cloud applications must be in force. Features that include functionality for your mobile devices is important, because employees working remotely are going to need the mobile feature.

Small business security needs have changed, and that means that the ability to be mobile is uber important. Support for mobile workers is also needed, but security is always the number one priority.

Why wouldn’t it be? Trend Micro found out with their survey that this was indeed the most important feature of security for the small business in 2015. The question is, is it just as affordable as the old standard solutions? Even if you didn’t think it was, antivirus is four times more important than any other component of your network and infrastructure. What else follows this, or should on your shopping list?

An Agile List of Small Business Security

When you look at the list of priorities for your small business security, you should prioritize. What comes next after deploying your security? The list should be as follows:

1. Firewalls

2. Antispam/ Email security

3. Mobile device management and security measures

Your small business has plenty of needs that go beyond the deployment of security. While breaches are at the top of the list for 2015, there are other aspects of your business that need attention from a security perspective.

Hosted email security is a big deal these days, with tons of viruses hiding within attachments and adware that appears to be completely harmless and legitimate.

Web security and security for cloud applications is an absolute must. What could be more important that running your business with the right security in place?

If you are looking for answers for your small business security needs, please CONTACT US at California Computer Services today to set up your consultation with an expert engineer!

As a small business owner you may be wondering if you can afford a managed services provider. When was the last time you looked at your budget? Even if you’re trying to balance a limited budget, you need the proper tools to grow your business. You may be happy with the tools and services you use right now, but what if you could add more tools and resources without breaking the bank? Although you might feel as though funds are in short supply, don’t fret. While banks may not be extending as much credit as they used to, the reality is that you can still get the products and services you need for your business. Where would you like to spend your money if you had the choice? Today, we’ll talk about whether or not your expense is going to be worth what you get out of a managed services provider, and what you should look for before you make any changes. managed services provider

Why a Managed Services Provider Could Cost You Less Long Term

You know that in order to keep your business in the game you have to have the latest in technology. That said, you have to pay the price tag.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that hiring a managed services provider won’t be in your budget. Isn’t it worth it to you to have someone working with you as a partner that can assist you when needed?

When it comes to time, isn’t it a benefit to have someone handling the small business IT stuff so that you can focus on serving your customers? There are plenty of ways for your staff to get basic training and learn basic skills when it comes to technology, but keep in mind that there will come a time when major system failures could arise.

Are you prepared to handle those issues? Do you have enough skilled staff to handle these challenges? You’ll have emergencies; that’s inevitable. However, how you handle these emergencies is up to you.

If you want to get the extra security, monitoring, and help that you need, IT outsourcing is a great option for you. Sure, you could end up investing thousands, but it’s important that you work with a vendor that can tailor make the help you need.

Don’t compare yourself to large corporations; you are a small business. Thinking that you need the same thing isn’t a fair assessment by any stretch of the imagination.

You won’t have the same resources or the need for the same budget when it comes to a fully staffed IT department. There isn’t any harm in bringing in an outside expert, but keep in mind that when you do, they need to be able to provide you with an assessment in order to give you what you need.

So, what do you need to know before you hire an MSP for your business?

1. You should get a full assessment so that the vendor knows what you need and nothing more.

2. You should get a contract that has a set price for the services you will be getting, and that price should not change.

3. Keep in mind that your contract or agreement for what you are doing should state exactly what you will get out of the service.

What Services Can You Get From a Managed Services Provider?

It’s important that you know what a provider can help you with. Many of the services we offer at California Computer Services include:
1. Computer and Server support.
2. Data backup disaster recovery. (We use Carbonite and Axcient)
3. Network security with our Watchnet Program.
4. Custom software solutions.
5. Remote network monitoring.
6. Cloud backup and support.
7. Network evaluation and planning.

These are all a must, and we can help. If you would like to discuss what California Computer Services can offer you as a managed services provider, please CONTACT US today for more information.

Technology in 2015 will look a bit different than it has in times past. While this may be in part due to security breaches, keep in mind that most of this is because of managing services properly. Too many small businesses are struggling with managing too many things all at once. You can probably relate to not having enough hours in the day, right?

Technology isn’t easy for everyone to understand, so why is it that businesses are still struggling? Today, we’ll share with you some big ideas on how technology in 2015 is going to change, and other ways that you can prepare to overcome the challenges you face on a daily basis with your small business.

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Technology in 2015 Has a Different Face

While there is a lot changing in the world of technology in 2015, what are the main highlights? Many managed service providers have been trying to offer more to their customers, so what does the list look like?

1. Integration and app marketplaces. Add on services is a big component of what MSP’s are doing these days. Everyone wants to be one stop shopping, and the way to do that is to offer more and go above and beyond. Collaborative sharing has moved to the forefront of every business as ecommerce grows.

2. IaaS prices will continue to drop. If you haven’t seen this acronym before, IaaS, then you should know it stands for infrastructure as a service. Your infrastructure is important because it holds up your business. This is what you run your business on. Shouldn’t you take care of it? If you can’t dedicate time to manage it properly from the inside out, it’s time to outsource.

3.Security. It’s no secret that 2014 had record of more security breaches than ever before. Now it’s time to step up to the plate every chance you get with the best in security. This means running regular updates is essential to the health of your network, and having the right anti-virus is essential too. There’s no time to spare.

4. Managed print whooda whatta? Did you know that the ability to print wirelessly is more attractive than ever? There is no guarantee that you’ll be wireless tomorrow, but the idea is that the more wireless you can be the more efficient you can be.

 5. Cloud computing is the solution. Cloud has brought so much to the marketplace, but now it’s time to consider not only cloud storage but also cloud backup too. Far too many businesses have been spending money on storage solutions when cloud allows you to store offsite and more securely. Can you say endless storage?

What is your small business and what would you do to make it grow quickly and safely? Is there a way for you to get more done in less time while focusing on what you do best?

If you would like to learn more about how managed services can impact technology in 2015, please CONTACT US today at California Computer Services.

 

As a small business owner, we hope that you understand your need for managed services. Whether you have accepted the fact that you can’t do it all, or you need reassurance that outsourcing is your best option, keep in mind that IT operations can be quite burdensome.

When you pick up the phone and you call vendors, what is the first thing they tell you? Are these vendors helping you or are they really telling you that they have qualifications as a marketing tool? Every vendor is different, offering “flat rate services” while others are going to offer you “custom packages”.

Is offloading your IT needs off to someone else a good idea? Today, we’ll share with you why managed services are a good idea for the small and large business, and the services that we offer you around the clock to help you run your business like a well-oiled machine.

managed services

A Brief History on Managed Services

If you aren’t sure where you stand just yet on IT managed services then it may help you to get a little bit of history about this and how it came to be. Most vendors that wanted to help with IT challenges were struggling with providing all of the necessary tools at all times.

Although there was a huge need there, keep in mind that most networks were built by an individual. This meant that they knew how to fix it, but a one man show isn’t the best way to offer a fix when something breaks.

This is why fixing things as they broke was the only way to approach IT challenges. However, things have changed and now there are companies like California Computer Services that are dedicated to being a managed service provider. When things came up the standard procedure was to:

1. Go onsite and fix only what was needed.
2. System review of logs and user information.
3. Checklist of reviews including log usage and processes being run on the network.
4. Call a vendor when something went wrong, but issues could only be viewed on the same day they occurred.

Backup is important every day, and it’s also important that you are able to identify problems when they first occur so that they can be fixed right away. What if you had someone to monitor your network around the clock and let you know when something isn’t quite right? Do you have an on-site technician? What would it cost you to hire one to keep on staff? Ah, herein lies the problem.

This is why so many small business owners are opting to outsource the management of their network and systems to vendors that are equipped to handle this. Thankfully, most Fortune 500 companies were the first to begin outsourcing these needs in an attempt to help them get things fixed as quickly as possible.

This set a good example for everyone else. Regardless of the size of your business you can’t do anything alone. What can you do right now to help your business function without interruption? If you need help making a decision on managed services for your small business, please CONTACT US today at California Computer Services.

 

Did you know that managed IT services Sacramento is a dire need?

Your small business may be seeking ways to trim the budget, and it’s no surprise that IT is where you look first. If you had an IT department at one point, you probably realized that it was too much to keep up with.

We hear ya!

It can be expensive and it can be too much time invested in management of people as well. This is when outsourcing becomes your best option. Think about the cost involved with employee turnover and the maintenance of payroll and more. Is it really worth it?

Today, we’ll tell you how you can have peace of mind knowing that you were able to take care of your customers while outsourcing the rest to the experts at California Computer Services.

managed IT services Sacramento

Why Managed IT Services Sacramento is a Great Solution

Thinking outside-the-box is the best thing you can do, especially when you are in the throes of making changes in your small business.

If you are sick, you make an appointment to see your doctor. If your small business is failing in the area of IT, you hire expert engineers to help you. Right?

With California Computer Services, you’ll have managed IT services Sacramento with the following agenda.

1. We’ll discuss your objectives.

2. Review of your internal capabilities.

3. We’ll determine how we can best partner with you.

4. We’ll offer flexible engagements for you.

5. We’ll cover industry best practices.

There are so many reasons why we are a trusted resource in the Sacramento region. We desire to see you achieve your goals while finding the right solution for you.

Most managed service providers only want to know how many servers you are using, as well as how many desktops you have. Aren’t you more than just a number? We think so. Our vision for helping your small business is big business!

We believe that if you have staff members, they can be utilized strategically in various ways. Why not allow us to asses those skills and put them to use? Isn’t that why you hire them?

You aren’t just a number; you are a small business seeking solutions for your daily operations. We can help you.

Managed IT Services Sacramento with Watchnet

Did you know that we have a program that promotes less downtime for your small business? Regardless of your size, you’ll have expert technicians working hand in hand with you to help you solve your IT problems.

At California Computer Services, we monitor your network around the clock. With continuous network testing and optimization, you’ll be able to run faster and smarter with less downtime.

You’ll also have a healthier network and we’ll run diagnostics on your network every day to ensure that things are running smoothly as planned. We can also check and repair network security vulnerabilities. At a time when viruses are becoming more sophisticated, you’ll want what we have to offer through our Watchnet program.

Today is the day for your small business to go deeper.

If you would like to know more about how we can serve you with our Watchnet program and help you with managed IT services Sacramento, please CONTACT US today at California Computer Services.

 

Have you heard that 2015 is the year of potentially unwanted software? We’ve been hitting all sides of the topic of ransomware because it’s accelerating and now the authors are getting more sophisticated in how they throw these viruses into your operating system.

How clever can these authors be? They can actually be quite clever and rather than focusing only on hardware it’s hitting applications too. Blue Coat, a security company has stated that this form of malware is getting more advanced.

There are more demands being made with this ransomware and it’s coming in various forms. Will the star attraction be international attacks or something even worse?

Today, we”ll share with you more details on what Blue Coat had to say, and we’ll also tell you what common mode failures means and what to do about them.
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Risks of Potentially Unwanted Software

Whether it’s getting hacked through social media or email accounts, this is the year of potentially unwanted software (PUS) according to Blue Coat, a security company.

This term goes hand in hand with ransomware, and it’s likely that it’s only going to get more intense until there is a permanent fix.

The biggest challenge on the horizon is the common mode failures. This happens when OpenSSL, believed to be secure intercepts encrypted traffic.

While this often occurred on major sites like Yahoo!, it didn’t mean that anyone was prepared for what could happen. With unsecure code, vulnerabilities are always present. This is when malicious viruses like POODLE, Heartbleed, and even Shellshock occurred.

Ransomware isn’t the only kid on the block, but other viruses like these that can intercept encrypted code and rewrite it yield a valid threat. Big organizations like Sony, Staples, Michaels, and even Home Depot know that danger is lurking.

Here are a few reasons you could be at risk, outside of regular backup.

1. Data breaches. This included identity theft that occurred at the point of sale in large retailers. Consider how your organization could be backing up and using better antivirus software.

2. Ransomware. This is the type of virus that locks down files and won’t release the keys until the ransom has been paid.

3. PUPs. This means potentially unwanted programs. These malvertising programs can help determine if malware is present. Now that the authors of malware think they are free and clear, think again.

4. Windows XP. Last year, we warned you through several blog posts that the updates were critical in order to avoid vulnerabilities. However, many banks and other small businesses never made the upgrade. This is when hackers took the opportunity to move in and make their move.

There are so many ways attacks can be made when you least expect it. The best way to handle this is to prepare ahead and update when needed as well as get the proper antivirus program ahead of time.

At California Computer Services, we urge you to sit down with us so that we can help you make a full assessment of your network and find out what you are missing. It’s never too late to get the right protection for your small business.

If you would like to learn more about how you can protect your business from potentially unwanted software, please CONTACT US today to set up a consultation with our experts.

 

 

 

Ransomware is back in the spotlight, but it’s important that you know what it looks like if you intend to protect yourself the best way possible. CryptoLocker isn’t the only game in town, and there are 3 names you should become familiar with when it comes to these nasty viruses.

While it’s possible to remove these viruses it’s important that you understand what it takes to get your files back. These types of malware require a certain type of exerptise in order for you to get back what is rightfully yours. How can you do that?

Today, we’ll share with you what you need to know to identify ransomware, and how you can get your files back without suffering the financial damages.

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How Can You Identify Ransomware?

Getting your files back after an attack with ransmoware takes some legwork. In fact, the process by which you recover your files depends upon the specific invader.

Some invaders may only require a simple scan while others may require a more involved process. This could mean that you need some offline help.

Here are the 3 different types of viruses you should look for including:

  • Scareware
  • Lock-screen
  • Standard ransomware like CryptoLocker

These viruses break down in the following fashion.

1. Scareware-This type of virus looks like a bogus anti-virus message, but it can also appear as a clean up tool. You’ll get a message that tells you that this clean up tool has found hundreds if not thousands of issues on your operating system. You could get alerted with pop-ups that ask you for information or to download software to help you fix the issue. While these are “scary”, these are quite easy to remove.

2. Lock-screen virus. These viruses can have a bitter impact in that they literally lock your screen. When they lock up your system they forbid you from using your computer in any way. This spells trouble, and is a bit closer to a more dangerous malware. The authors of these viruses have gone so far as to create a warning that appears to be from the FBI and includes their logo. You’ll get a warning that tells you that you must pay a fine to go forward. This is a scary virus, and somewhat easy to resolve.

3. Encrypting malware- This type of malware is what first reared it’s ugly head as CryptoLocker. This virus is what encrypts your files and locks them until the given ransom has been paid. Most recently the uptick in requests was for $300 in Bitcoin. This virus demands a ransom, but law enforcement says that you shouldn’t pay it because there are no guarantees that you’ll get your files back.

Is it true that you can really eliminate this malware from your PC?

Rules for Removing Ransomware

If you can stop the attacker you can stop the attack. This is the truest statement when it comes to this malicious problem. There is now a malware removal guide for this type of issue, and if you enter Safe Mode and follow instructions you’ll be well on your way to the proper fix.

If you have problems entering into Safe Mode, you can always attempt to use a System Restore to take your Windows Operating System back in time.

Protecting your operating system is no small task, and it’s one of the most important ones you have. If you would like to learn more about how you can remove ransomware and protect your network, please CONTACT US today at California Computer Services to get started.

You may be wondering how you can avoid a disaster like CryptoLocker, and today we’ll tell you how other business figured it out the hard way in 2013 when it first started attacking networks.

As it turns out, backing up your data and having a restoration point are the only ways to make sure you don’t get hit by this demon of ransomware. It’s also the only way you’ll get your files back.

What else can be done to help you avoid this tragic malware?

Today, we’ll share with you some valuable insights on how this IT nightmare is being quelled, and what you can do when the online extortionist behind it demands your money to get your files back using CryptoLocker.

Protecting Yourself Against CryptoLocker

You may be wondering if there is something you can do to avoid getting these offer malware programs without hiring expert engineers to give your network a once over. There are many things you can do right now before we ever take a peek into your system.

1. Regular updates. Updates just aren’t for software, but they are for hardware and viruses too. Make sure you update your system regularly to avoid any loopholes that hackers can get into. Also be sure to backup data and store in unconnected storage.

2. Invest in virus prevention. Did you know that adding virus prevention is a big step for most small businesses? Many businesses don’t see the need to purchase this type of prevention, but it’s needed more than ever. Be sure to take a look at CryptoLocker prevention kits.

3. NEVER open attachments from unknown sources. Did you know that the worse thing you could do is open attachments from someone you don’t know? Never open an email that you don’t recognize. It’s most likely filled with a virus.

4. The cloud. Moving data to cloud storage is always a great idea. Don’t underestimate the headaches it could save you to keep data offsite.

 5. Note hidden file extensions. Did you know that most files are noted as .EXE or .PDF? If you re-enable these files to be seen with their extensions, this means that it could be easier to spot suspicious files in a Window’s operating system. Wouldn’t you rather be able to find unwanted files right away?

6. Disable any files that are running from a location in APP files.  Applications take up a lot of space and energy, and any files that are attached to them could cause problems. If you have legitimate files running you want to be able to see them. If they are attached to applications disable them.

7. Get a CryptoLocker prevention kit. There are prevention kits available to help with this. This can help to create what is known as a group policy that will disable files running from your APPdata and LocalAPPdata folders. As always, make sure that any tools you are using are updated to the latest version.

There are still more ways to protect yourself, and California Computer Services can help. Please CONTACT US today to learn more about how we can help you stand up against CryptoLocker.

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