While ransomware is attacking computers everywhere it’s now beginning to use social media to fool you. With hackers using their own tools to create these problems, they have discovered that they can use the resources you use each day to subject you to the virus.

Whether for business or personal, you probably use social media at least once per day. When you log into your account are you mindful of any changes that may have occurred since your last login?

Even if you don’t see anything new, you should know that hackers can easily access your social media accounts through various loopholes. Facebook and Google Chrome are now the names being used to lure you into the danger zone.

How can you put a stop to this? While it may not be clear how to avoid this ransomware problem altogether, we wanted to share with you how the virus problems are taking over the Windows Operating System and what you can do to protect your small business.

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New Developments with CTB-Locker Ransomware

Every day when you check your email, you are always happy to see emails from people you know. As a human being and a business owner you tend to be a social creature. That is great until phishing emails infiltrate your network.

The biggest challenge is not knowing what to look for. Today, more awareness begins. It’s time to take a look at what is new with this threat of the CTB-locker ransomware.

1. Emails are being sent to you that appear to be from Google Chrome or Facebook. In fact, these emails will state that you should udpate your browser.

2. When you click on the links in the emails, you are redirected to a site that uses malware. Beware that this email is completely legitimate and the icon is just the same as what you’ll see when in Google Chrome.

3. The email will warn you. Did you know that these emails appear as warnings of account suspension?

4. Beware of any email that contains a PDF with instructions to download. Downloading this link will open up the malware inside your email account.

5. Paypal has also been targeted. You may receive links that appear to be directly connected to Paypal. You’ll be asked to verify your login credentials as well. This is dangerous so please consider what you are looking at when you do this.

These emails could be detrimental to your business.

These are the main warnings at this time connected with this malware, but it’s important that you understand why encryption matters. These forms of malware are genius in that they decrypt your files and take the keys until the ransom has been paid.

Authorities and California Computer Services urge you not to pay that ransom because there is no guarantee that you’ll get your files back. These viruses are the most advanced that they have ever been.

You may be using a Windows operating system or you may be using Android, but either way you are subject to this malware either way. Are you ready to take action?

If you have more questions about how you can be prepared in advance against ransomware, please CONTACT US today to set up your consultation.

 

While things heat up in the world of malware for your small business, the latest form of ransomware, “Bad Romance” is now the new kid on the block and it’s just as vicious as the rest of these viruses.

While these professional virus creators are great at what they do, they have now decided to use any and all loopholes to exploit the virus as much as possible.

This means that other viruses are able to act as a catalyst for this vicious form of malware. Decryption keys are promised if the ransom requested is paid. This ransom amount could be anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

While most of the demands are for payment in Bitcoin, most of the Bitcoin requests are made only on the Window’s operating system. While CryptoWall is making progress, other names are being dished out before you can keep up with them.

How can you make sure you know what’s next when it comes to ransomware?

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Breaking the Chain of Ransomware

Ransomware is now believed to be the top notch malware among all computer viruses. Locking down important data, these branches of the virus are stopping individuals and organizations in their tracks.

The key experts believe is finding a place to break the chain and preventing it altogether. How does this happen?

1. Block phishing emails. Emails are opened every day and every second. It’s hard to stop them, but if someone can it’s a great start.

2. Blocking connections to malicious content. It’s common sense that you don’t go to websites where you normally wouldn’t go, and you shouldn’t click in links that you normally wouldn’t click. However, many people do out of habit when they see something that interests them.

3. Stopping malicious processes. Processes are what make things go around. Without systems and processes, nothing works. This is no different with IT support. If you don’t have the right protection in place to stop malicious processes from these viruses you’ll discover that files won’t be able to be captured. It’s important that you know how to stop this process and what you can stop it with. Don’t allow your data to be held hostage.

Researchers have now been focusing their efforts on developing protection so big that not even other researchers can detect it. It’s amazing that a virus so complex could be prevented by complex tools and creations.

The question is, are you protected? Do you have the proper virus protection in place to make sure that this does not happen to you? Your small business could be affected by big problems if you are NOT ready.

Are You Prepared Against Ransomware?

Now that you know this problem is growing every day and becoming more malicious, how will you take precaution? Whether your operating system is Windows or Android, the threats are no less important.

It’s vital that you get prepared before something goes awry. If you are not sure as to whether or not your system is protected against this vicious ransomware, please CONTACT US today at California Computer Services to set up your consultation for your small business.

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Ransomware is now an every day topic of discussion, not to mention it’s getting worse. Just when you thought the problem was over and the world got quiet about these viruses you find yourself looking for more new ways to protect your small business.

What can you do?

Authors of these attacks are now getting more skilled and more targeted to get what they want. The key for these authors is that they continue to improve upon the file-encrypting programs that they write.

These are no longer for Windows either, but they are also being created for Android. Is it possible to avoid the nightmares?

Today, we’ll share the biggest threat for Windows users, and how you can get your small business up to speed with the right protection.
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The Latest Threat in Ransomware

You may be using Android for certain applications, but you should also know that Windows users are the most highly targeted user out there for ransomware.

Authors of these deadly programs are now becoming more sophisticated and more aggressive. One of the most sophisticated programs to date just hit Window’s users in January.

This virus known as CryptoWall is malicious and demands payment in the form of cryptocurrency. Now that cryptocurrency is going mainstream, you may not be surprised that this is happening.

The files being targeted are not restricted to one form of file, but rather a large number of files. With untrackable algorithms being utilized, it’s difficult for authorities to find the creators and shut them down.

For nearly two months, this virus lay dormant, only for it to crop up again and cause your small business to take notice. This two month hiatus was more than likely a way to hush the buzz until a better more deadly virus could be created.

It’s unknown, but it caught the public off guard. The spike hit mid January and is still running strong as users of Windows are trying desperately to figure out how to get rid of it or prevent it altogether.

Here is what we know at California Computer Services:

1. Your network needs the proper assessment to make sure there are no loopholes for attacks to get through. This relates to your software and your hardware.

2. File-encrypting is important. It must be done right otherwise the files can be rewritten.

3. These attacks are hitting both Windows and Android users. CryptoWall is hitting Windows only.

4. Your virus/malware protection should be evaluated to make sure it suits the unique needs of your business.

5. You’ll need firewall planning and policy to ensure all things are done correctly.

6. Intrusion prevention is an absolute must. Stop the problem before it starts. We can help.

If you aren’t prepared, you’ll get attacked every time a virus comes down the pike. Are you ready? Your network is critical, and your files for your business as well as those for your customers are the lifeblood of your business.

Isn’t it worth protecting the best of what you have?

The level of unique users per day being affected is far too many. Isn’t it time to get ready?

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you prepare against ransomware, please CONTACT US today to schedule your consultation.

 

The phrase “flash flaws” is now storming the internet as ransomware makes the top ten list of things to be aware of in 2015. Adobe Flash Player is now infected and giving hackers loopholes by which they can infect your PC with a virus that demands a ransom in order to get  your files back.

Huffington Post and even Answers.com are now reporting that they have been attacked and they are spreading the word to be on the lookout for these dangerous forms of malware.

At a time when security breaches seem to keep climbing, it’s no surprise that there are now multiple forms of ransomware cropping up. How can you protect yourself against this vicious problem and keep your small business network up and running flawlessly?

Today, we’ll share with you what these flash flaws are and what you need to know to be prepared.

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What Are Flash Flaws?

If you use Adobe Flash Player, you know it’s great to have when you want to play videos, music, and it’s great to use for business for presentations.

However, it’s becoming problematic that there are loopholes in the way it operates when hackers need a way to infect your system. A new problem referred to as Fessleak, is noted as using an email address which can be used to register malicious domain names.

The flaw was found in Windows back in October, at a time when many businesses were still using an old format of Windows.

Is the slow update the reason or is it these true flash flaws that cause this to happen? The main issues are the ones you need to be aware of including:

1. Running ads online. Clickable ads are hard to detect as being ransomware, but now you have every reason to be careful of that click. It’s sad that a few folks have ruined pay-per-click marketing. You need to run ads as a business, but you also need to be careful of what ads you click if you are doing online research.

2. The flaws that occurred are known as zero day flaws. This means that there was no time given to issue a security patch for this problem. These viruses are so malicious they strike when the iron is hot. There is no time to waste, and with attackers discovering these flaws and using them immediately, there are no warning signs when these ads are running. They always look legitimate.

3. A new virus called Invincea, is also on the loose. This is when a hacker drops a virus into what is known as a “virtual container”. What this means for you is that this is advanced. This container is a isolated spot, and generally only used by those that study malware. Inside job? You bet.

4. Ads are running in legitimate networks because they appear legitimate. Keep in mind that what you don’t see can hurt you. It’s hard for most folks to know what they are looking at, and what to look for. Keep in mind that ad networks make it easy for these viruses to be hid by a professional hacker. Beware of what you click.

It’s hard to know what is legit and what is not. If you don’t need to click on it, just don’t click. If you have staff in the field doing research, please make sure that they understand the importance of what is happening here.

If you would like to learn more about protecting yourself against these flash flaws and ransomware, please CONTACT US today to set up your free consultation with California Computer Services.

 

 

Understanding what ransomware is and how it works is just as important as what you are reading about the attacks that have already surfaced. If you are a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to educate yourself about what is happening in your industry and how you can turn your small business into a massive success.

It’s hard to know what viruses are the most damaging and how they actually get into your hardware and software and attack. What they do is just as important too.

So, how can you identify this ransomware ahead of time and get prepared before it’s too late? Today, we’ll share with you what ransomware is and how you can take the right steps to protect yourself 100%!

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Identifying Ransomware

As a business owner it’s important that you don’t allow something like a virus to kill your business.

What are the keys to indentifying ransomware and knowing that it’s not another computer virus?

1. FBI warning or moneypak warnings. These only use FBI logos and warnings. These are not from the FBI, and they typically don’t ask for money but they can be dangerous. If asked for personal information do not provide it.

2. They prevent you from accessing Windows. This type of virus is brutal and it can prevent you from using Windows. This means you won’t be able to get too far, including accessing important files.

3. Encrypts specific files so you can’t use them. One of the unique traits of this type of virus is that it can encrypt your files and rewrite them. This is the most dangerous form and you won’t be able to use your files at all.

4. Can prevent apps from running. Applications are more commonplace and many small business owners run their business using these applications. When your applications can’t run, business is down. You can’t afford it.

5. Demand a specific amount of money to get your files back. This is the most common form of ransomware, and the demands can be quite expensive, ranging anywhere from $500 into the thousands. Once you pay the ransom, the files are given back. Beware.

6. Complete surveys to get your information. Do you get pop up screens asking you fill out surveys? If so, avoid these. Surveys can ask for personal information and lead you to believe that they are from companies doing research. Be aware that these are more than likely NOT legitimate research companies but viruses.

These are several facts about these viruses that you should know to protect your small business as much as possible. These viruses are able to take down your entire system within seconds once they are through.

What can you do to make sure that you don’t fall victim to something so dangerous?

Get Prepared Ahead Against Ransomware

Viruses are serious business, which means that if you learn the warning signs you’ll be two steps ahead. Don’t believe warnings that say you’ve done something illegal with your PC. You should know better.

Scare tactics are never legitimate, and just keep in mind that if you were being monitored by the FBI, they wouldn’t make it obvious. Also, keep in mind that if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that you’ll get your files back.

It’s critical that you focus on the proper backup and that you have the right protection at all times. If you would like to learn more about how California Computer Services can help you protect your files and data, and prevent you falling prey to “ransomware”, please CONTACT US today to set up your consultation.

 

Ransomware is back again, and now it’s not only accessing your important files and asking for money but it’s freezing backups. Web applications have been compromised which is now a bigger concern than ever.

Applications both mobile and the like are changing the way your small business functions. Is encryption no longer good enough when encryption keys can be swapped?

Today, we’ll share with you what a tech consultant has to say about this, and how it’s going to affect preparations against ransomware around the world.

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Ransomware and the Crypto Key Swap

Websites that are connected to the server of a database are the attraction for this type of ransomware.

If the encryption hasn’t been done properly, the settings can then be altered. Once the settings have been altered, that information can be copied onto a new server, specifically an HTTPS server. 

While these extensions have been deemed as “secure servers”, they are certainly evaded by admins, which is why they make an easy target.

When an encryption is removed, the website appears to be down. This is the point in time in which an admin would receive an email asking for cash in order to get the keys back.

This is a similar pattern to the original CryptoLocker virus, but it’s bit more fierce. Just when the PClock ransomware was released in a much less serious light we now have this version going after the backup.

While you need to be prepared with the proper anti-virus and anti-malware, it’s also imperative that you are prepared with the proper backup and recovery as well.

If the attacker knows how to work his way around the recovery point objectives, then it’s important that you understand these people are quite you recover your valuable data.

High Tech Bridge, the consultants we mentioned above, have knowledge of the attack occurring well before it was ever noticed. This isn’t a surprise as the attacks typically take place long before they are recognized by the administrators.

What can you do to change this and prepare ahead?

Are You Prepared for Ransomware?

Preparing ahead is the key for fighting back against ransomware. There is never really one blueprint that applies to every business. Your small business has a unique set of needs. For this reason you need to rely on the experts at California Computer Services to help you assess your website and check for any loopholes with encryption.

If you have not had the proper assessment you would have no way to know whether or not your website is prepared for attackers looming waiting to overwrite your server or critical data.

You won’t be able to detect any of this on your own. Are your keys encrypted properly and protected? Do you have the proper backup? If you want to get prepared ahead of time to fight this vicious “ransomware”, please CONTACT US today at California Computer Services to set up your FREE consultation.

If you had a million dollars to spend for your small business, would you put it into your security infrastructure? If you answered yes, you are wise. While you may not have a million dollars to spend, keep in mind that your network, software and hardware are what you are using to run your daily operations.

Without them your business would be on thin ice, and probably not even running at all. Organizations are thinking big when it comes to security in 2015, and it’s probably not thinking soon enough.

Just when it seemed that you could allocate more money to marketing or other endeavors, security got a little harder to come by. While you may have moved your important data and files to the cloud, and started using more applications than ever, it’s important that you understand what can make your business successful all of the time.

Today, we’ll share with you why California Computer Services is encouraging small businesses in the Sacramento region to think about security infrastructure first, rather than an afterthought, and how we can help you get ready!

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Focusing on Security Infrastructure in 2015

Pain isn’t something anyone enjoys, right? The last time we checked, everyone likes to be pain free. Why not make sure that you do everything possible to make your small business pain free?

You can when it comes to security infrastructure, if you take the proper steps. Infonetics Research,  a company which provides information based upon research from analysts in the field, suggests that 2015 is the year in which organizations will have to spend more on security than ever before.

The latest market research indicates that:

1. Ransomware is becoming more sophisticated, even if it isn’t right now.

2. Security is the TOP pain point for organizations rather than just the bottom line.

Regardless of what the economy is doing, your small business still has big fish to fry. There are several criteria that your business must meet in order to kick this problem in the proverbial pants.

With an onslaught of mobile deployment and backup, it seems that this would be a topic in times past that was hot, but not so fast. Still, as these ransomware viruses and the hackers that create them gets more robust, it demands more from us in order to get it right.

Here are some areas to focus on this year.

1. Assess all security issues/loopholes, including: IaaS and MDM. We handle the jargon, but what you need to know is that we look at the bigger picture when it comes to your network and security. We look for the all-encompassing solution.

2. Keep up on the latest cyber threats and how they could impact your business. Educate yourself first, even before you call us. We can help you, but at least start by helping yourself. You owe it to yourself to do so.

3. Always make sure that the right folks have their hands on your data, and not one person more than that. It’s essential to keeping your important data and files under wraps. You can’t afford to hand the keys over to folks you don’t trust.

It’s vital that you grasp this, otherwise your business could suffer tremendous loss. If you have more questions about how to assess your security infrastructure, using top notch encryption, managing cloud services and even dealing with ransomware like the crypto-virus, please CONTACT US at California Computer Services to set up your consultation.

 

Cryptovirus is not a new name roaming the streets for IT support, but these days there are plenty of copycats in ransomware to worry about. Copycats are now more prevalent than ever before, and they are looming around in an attempt to get your information.

The new kid on the block is PClock, and it isn’t shy. If you have been wondering what the most dangerous of the malware families is, it’s related to the Cryptolocker virus.

Today, we are going to share with you what is happening now with this ransomware, and how California Computer Services can help you prepare for the future to protect your small business from vicious attacks.
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Why This Ransomware is Hot

Cryptolocker was a hot virus in 2013 and most of 2014. Just in case you missed it, this virus locked down everything and demanded money in order to be unlocked.

It’s a hateful virus, demanding hundreds if not thousands to get your information back. Unfortunately, there were individuals affected by this as well as small businesses.

The name of the game is getting prepared, even if it may NEVER happen. How do you know if it’s going to happen? You don’t. We lend the same credence to anti-virus protection that we do for car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and even life insurance.

You cannot possibly know what is coming down the pike, and that is why you can’t afford to NOT be ready. While the CryptoLocker virus was dismantled, there is now a copycat on the loose.

While this particular ransomware isn’t as sophisticated as CryptoLocker, it’s still worth learning about and well worth the preparation to prevent it from getting it’s fangs into your network.

This particular virus does the following:

1. Encrypts important files on your PC

2. Gives a 72- hour countdown with $300 ransom to get your files back

3. Offers the option to pay the ransom in 1 Bitcoin. (equivalent to $300)

4. If ransom is not paid, user’s keys will be destroyed

5. When time of expiration is nearing or over, a last chance message will be displayed

What we do know right now, is that although this PClock copycat threatens to destroy keys, it doesn’t. This is good news, but it doesn’t mean that you should take the virus lightly.

Even if it doesn’t do what it says it will do, the encryption of your personal files is important and well worth protecting. Your business is at risk, your credit rating, your client files and personal information are all important.

Why give them the chance to take something that doesn’t belong to them?

So, how was this virus written and does it matter?

Preparing Against PClock

Time is of the essence….always. It’s important that you prepare ahead of time, and get the insurance for your business that you need. In this case, this means that you need the proper protection.

We know that the virus is written in Virtual Basic 6, which means that it’s easy to enter a user’s system. Once inside, the virus has the ability to copy itself onto your applications.

Your applications are critical, because they enable you to execute certain tasks. The following files are the specific files that this virus targets including:

*.3fr, *.accdb, *.ai, *.arw, *.bay, *.cdr, *.cer, *.cr2, *.crt, *.crw, *.h, *.dbf, *.dcr, *.der, *.dng, *.doc, *.docm, *.docx, *.dwg, *.dxf, *.dxg, *.eps, *.erf, *.indd, *.jpe, *.jpg, *.kdc, *.mdb, *.mdf, *.mef, *.mrw, *.nef, *.nrw, *.odb, *.odm, *.odp, *.ods, *.odt, *.orf, *.p12, *.p7b, *.p7c, *.pdd, *.pef, *.pem, *.pfx, *.ppt, *.pptm, *.pptx, *.psd, *.pst, *.ptx, *.r3d, *.raf, *.raw, *.rtf, *.rw2, *.rwl, *.srf, *.srw, *.wb2, *.wpd, *.wps, *.xlk, *.xls, *.xlsb, *.xlsm, *.xlsx – See more at: http://blog.emsisoft.com/2015/01/04/new-ransomware-alert-cryptolocker-copycat-pclock-discovered/#sthash.CeM0BnkV.dpuf

We hope that you’ll consider the importance of your network security, and the steps that you should take to prepare. At California Computer Services, we work with Carbonite to bring you the very best protection possible.

If you have more questions about how you can take steps to prepare against this ransomware, please CONTACT US today so that we can schedule a consultation for your small business.

It’s important that you find ways to continue to increase revenue with your small business. Unfortunately, you may not see how you can do this creatively outside of offering new products or services.

Your small business will have to stand the test of time in a tough economy, but how can you overcome the challenges? It’s all about finding ways to become more efficient.

Right now, can you think of a few things you can cut out of your budget to increase your bottom line? Perhaps it’s just a matter of changing how you think.

Grab your pens and paper, and let’s start looking at ways right now that you can begin to cut back and increase revenue for your small business. You’ll see where you can cut costs, and how California Computer Services can help!

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Increase Revenue Creatively

Did you know that you can find creative ways to help your small business increase its bottom line?

There are 5 ways right now that you may not have considered before to help you cut costs and boost your small business budget.

1. Reconsider your hours of operation. Did you know that not all businesses need to be open from 8 AM until 9 PM? Think about your target market and when they do business. If you do the research upfront, you’ll see that they shop, dine, or even do their work around a certain time of day. It won’t be the same for everyone. You may need to cut your hours, even if it’s just an hour per day.

2. Use a little technology. Is there a way that you can better streamline administrative tasks? If so, it will be worth it to do so and cut back on labor costs. Do you really need to hire more staff for something technology could automate for you? This is just one simple way to increase revenue.  Instead of hiring IT staff, why not outsource that and cloud backup to a company like California Computer Services? We can help you with your cloud back up and more.

3. Can you lease some space? Depending on what type of business you have, you may be able to lease out some space. If you had a larger storefront than needed, and you downsized, why not rent out half? It’s a win-win for you saving money, and you’ll have space to give to someone else that needs small space.

4. Review your suppliers and vendors. Are you getting services from someone that charges more than you can really afford? Why not shop around and compare prices with similar vendors. It’s better for you to comparison shop so that you can focus on meeting your budget. You don’t want to go out of business because you paid too much for something you could do yourself or outsource to a local vendor for less.

5. Pay raises or added value? Even in a tough economy, you should know that some folks still value other things over money. The ability to work one less day per week when business is slow, or work half days when their children have school activities is a big deal. Employees are often struggling with the work and family balance.

Make your list today and see how you can begin to save money. You’ll be so glad you did, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner! If you used this list of 5 ways to increase revenue for your small business budget, CONTACT US today at California Computer Services and let us know!

Do you currently have your own business as a CPA (certified public accountant), or do you own a financial services firm? If you do, then you should have an understanding of how important it is for you to have proper IT support.

Not only do you want to make sure that your files and data are safe, but you also want to make sure that you are in compliance with any federal and state requirements.

Whether you are a CPA, a financial planner, or even the manager of a bank, you should know that it’s critical to have the proper IT support. Today, I’ll share with you the 4 reasons your financial services needs better IT support, and what you can do about it starting today.

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What Today’s Financial Services Firms Face with IT Support

If you don’t have the most up-to-date protection for your data and infrastructure then it’s time to rethink how you are approaching compliance for your business.

Online banking, financial information, and account transfers, deposits, and withdrawals on all fronts mean that you’ll be accessing your network nearly every second of the day.

Even if you are a small bank or firm, you’ll need proper IT support around the clock. There are 4 main reasons that your financial services needs better IT support.

1. Constant monitoring of your network to prevent downtime.

2. Ensure that your files are protected and private.

3. Keep your software up-to-date.

4. We provide training and around the clock support.

We also work with local small businesses so that we can get to you know better, and learn more about what you need versus what other vendors may try to sell you without your best interest in mind.

There are tons of vendors that will claim to be able to help you with your needs for your financial services business, but keep in mind that if the vendor doesn’t focus on your industry as one of its main industries you may need to look elsewhere.

We have the intimate knowledge of changing regulatory compliance requirements, and some of the highest level of expertise. When your firm is in the eye of the public, whether a bank or other institution where the public come in and out of often, you’ll want to maintain security without the drama.

Why risk what matters most?

There are still more reasons than compliance for you to want to make sure that your financial institution has everything you need to prepare for the day.

California Computer Services Can Help Protect Your Financial Services

Compliance is critical, but it’s also important that your institution is focused on how any challenges could impact your client relationships. We are dedicated to learning more and understanding how compliance and support changes, as well as watching over your network, applications, and firewalls.

Communication inside and out is so important, why would you allow anything less to take place in your business? At California Computer Services we work with the best to provide you with the best protection, disaster recovery, networking, and more in IT support.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you protect the “financial services” you provide, please CONTACT US today to set up a consultation.