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CT Saskatoon-Business is Booming!

Andrey Olinov, our Saskatoon Franchisee is contributing to the booming businesses started by young entrepreneurs in Saskatoon!

Andrey moved to Saskatoon from Moscow 5 years ago and is now a strong part of his community and Computer Troubleshooters!

He was recently interviewed by a local radio station regarding his nomination as a finalist for the Small Business Award at the North Saskatoon Business Association’s (NSBA) Business Builders Awards.

We are so proud of Andrey and his team.  Congratulations CT Saskatoon!

To read the whole article go to
http://cjme.com/story/young-businesses-bud-saskatoon/267405

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October Newsletter: Is Your Business Prepared to Fight Cyber Crime?

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. This annual event is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The aim of Cyber Security Awareness Month is to inform and educate all levels of our government, the private business sector and the general public about issues of safety and security in our cyber environment. Their tag line says it all: Stop. Think. Connect.

What does “cyber environment” actually mean? We can interchange that term with others such as information technology, computer networks, Internet, digital, wired and virtual. It’s the non-physical terrain created by computer systems that is keeping us more interconnected than ever before. The average American spends over five hours a day in online activities related to jobs, education, e-mail, mobile banking, health care, online shopping, travel, entertainment and social media communications. All of this digital convenience also presents a wide range of threats, dangers and responsibilities. Especially with more information shared via Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, we need to be increasingly vigilant about the security of our personal data.

The Dangers of Cyber Crimes

For individuals, the ever-present danger of cyber crimes includes hacker theft of confidential information, money, credit, banking and even medical information. This type of crime often results in personal identity theft. Other facets of cyber crime include online bullying and stalking that can affect your children. Malicious business scams are probably the most common. The threats to businesses include the loss of intellectual property, stolen client data or harm to the business’ computer network. The statistics on cyber crime are sobering. In 2013, online scams had increased by 355%. Cyber attacks on small businesses had increased by 18% over the past two years, with over 60% of these targeted businesses closing their doors within six months.

How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Business from Cyber Crime

In both our professional and private lives, each of us needs to assume responsibility for our online activities. These responsibilities involve a combination of equipment maintenance and software updates coupled with appropriate online behavior and a constant vigilance against criminal activities. We suggest that you start with this brief checklist:
•Maintain a Clean Machine by running the most recent operating system, security software, apps and web browser as a defense against online threats such as viruses and malware.
•Firewalls and Encryption should be in use by businesses to secure their internet connection. Educate employees about passwords and internet security guidelines.
•Spam and Phishing are hazards you can avoid. Don’t open e-mailed attachments from strangers and never click on unknown links contained within e-mails. Enable the filters on your e-mail programs to screen for spam. Beware of messages indicating upgrades, technical updates and special offers. These tactics are no longer limited to e-mail, so be vigilant when on social networking sites.
•Backup Your Computer and Mobile Device in the event that your equipment is physically stolen or lost. You might have lost the device, but the data is preserved by the backup system. The theft of smartphones has become a major crime. Be aware of where your smartphone is at all times. If your phone is missing, consider using locator apps and you can even use a remote wipe to clear information from your missing phone.
•Secure Your Device by activating the key-lock feature and using a passcode. A particularly complex password is suggested. Change your passwords periodically.
•Safeguard Your Personal Information when using unsecured, public connection by avoiding apps or websites that require your password. These are the types of connections accessed in airports, hotels, coffee shops and libraries. You might want to reconsider doing your online banking in an airport.
•Manage Your Social Network Privacy by reviewing the latest changes to privacy settings and be sure you are using these settings properly. Think twice about what you are posting on these sites – more people might see this than you think. Educate your children about social media behaviors. Hide your e-mail address from online profiles.
•Disposal of Older Computers is another source for the theft of data. Remember when you delete files, the information is not actually erased. The hard drive should be overwritten, degaussed or physically destroyed. Never dispose of a computer that hasn’t been secured. Your information could end up in the hands of a criminal.

Computer Troubleshooters Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security

Computer Troubleshooters is proud to be a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Our entire team supports their mission throughout the year. Computer Troubleshooters can do an assessment of your business’ computer network. We can also provide recommendations for establishing a strategic approach to cyber security and assist you with a variety of solutions to reduce the risk of a security breach.

We strongly encourage you to prepare your business for the threat of a cyber security crime.
Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office today.

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Champion Partner of Cyber Security Month

It’s official! Computer Troubleshooters is now a Champion for National Cyber Security Awareness Month. We are proud to be a champion and show our continued commitment to Cyber Security!

Our franchise owners are focused on cyber security and its impact on residents and business owners 365 days a year. For the next 30 days, we will be sharing cyber security information through newsletters, social media posts, blog posts, and available promotions as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

STOP.THINK.CONNECT. This is a simple message that they believe everyone should adopt. We all need to take security and safety precautions and understand the consequences of our actions and behaviors online.

The National Cyber Security Alliance focuses on these essential safety issues:
•Awareness –Ensuring that the public understands and is aware of the cybercrimes that are taking place across the Internet.
•Education – Informing the public about how to stay safe online and who to contact if they are a victim of a cybercrime or think they may be a victim of a cybercrime. Also, helping business owners educate their employees about safety measures and informing parents about how to keep their children online. Parents need to teach their children about what to look for and stay away from while online.
•Culprits – Many cybercrimes begin with Malware – short for “malicious software.” Malware includes viruses and software that is installed on your computer or mobile device without your knowledge or consent. These programs can cause your computer to crash and can also be used to monitor and control your online activity.
•Prevention – The easiest line of defense is to avoid Malware, so you should always keep a “clean machine.” Install the latest security software, complete automatic updates and protect all devices that connect to the Internet.

Because it is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we have put together this short quiz so that you can test your own online awareness. We encourage you to put your Cyber Security knowledge to the test (the answers are at the bottom:)).

1. Hector unlocks his smartphone and notices he has 12 apps that need to be updated. What should he do?

A. Ignore the prompt to update.

B. Update the apps.

2. When you are connected to the Internet, you are responsible for your actions. (True or False)

3. Stealing other people’s work online – from sites like Wikipedia and Google – is a crime. (True or False)

4. You are playing a game on a smartphone and the app asks for your current location. It’s okay to enable location services because all of your friends play the game and if they do it, it must be okay. (True or False)

5. Malware is a type of software designed to cause viruses. (True or False)

1.B. Update the apps. It’s important to Keep a Clean Machine. Keeping a Clean Machine means having the latest operating system, software, web browser, anti-virus protection and apps on your computer and mobile devices. You should also only have apps on your phone that you actually use.
2.True. Remember to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Make sure you have taken security precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors and enjoy the Internet. Remember, the Internet is a shared resource. When you are safer online, you make the Internet more secure for everyone!
3.TRUE. Stealing other people’s work is considered theft. If you cut and paste content into your homework without citing the source, it is cheating and plagiarism.
4.False. Think before you app. Many apps do not need geo-location services enabled in order to provide the service. Make sure you decline or opt-out of the location service feature on your phone. If you don’t know how to do this, ask your parents. Protect your personal information by reading the privacy policy of an app before you download it to understand what information the app accesses and how it uses your information.
5.TRUE. Malware, short for malicious software, is designed to cause damage or disruption to a computer system or to use a computer to send spam, distribute malware or launch an attack on other computers. You can avoid malware by Keeping a Clean Machine and having the latest operating system, software, web browser, anti-virus protection and apps on your computer and mobile devices. Remember, all devices that connect to the Internet need protection.

If you have questions about National Cyber Security Awareness Month or would like to get involved you can go to the National Cyber Security Awareness Website: http://www.staysafeonline.org/

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Keeping Your IT Team as Happy as Can Be

IT professionals are essentially on call at all times. A system-wide catastrophe can occur
any time of the day or night, and these professionals are ready to get your network back up and on its feet again. Additionally, IT professionals work around the clock to ensure that these types of problems are taken care of before they turn into potential disasters. Show your IT team you appreciate what they do, and you’ll have find you’ll have a greater ability to increase both efficiency and productivity at a company level.

Software as a Service

One very popular facet of technology being adopted in a wide variety of different industries is “software as a service,” or SaaS, according to Salesforce.com. SaaS allows you to subscribe to various types of products and services that are available from the Internet, as opposed to the traditional model of installing something on a computer’s hard drive. Software as a service implementations are easy to set up and even easier to maintain, which allows your IT team to have a well-deserved break from calamities they face on a daily basis.

The benefits also extend far past the IT team. Because business and enterprise applications are stored in the cloud instead of locally on a hard drive, employees can work from any computer with an Internet connection. Just because an employee is out sick or on vacation doesn’t mean that person won’t be able to do some work at the same time thanks to software as a service implementation.

Blackberry’s MDM

Another key technology that is helping make IT professionals happy all over the country is Blackberry’s MDM, or Mobile Device Management. The Blackberry MDM architecture helps IT professionals and even the business as a whole keep all mobile devicesinterconnected and secure. The service allows enterprises to manage mobile devices of all types including those running the Blackberry OS as well as Android and iOS platforms. Both corporate and personal devices can be managed from a single interface that offers a full range of security needs.

IT professionals will have a wide variety of different options with regards to how to both maintain an existing architecture and fix issues that may arise, and your employees in general will have greater freedom to collaborate and increase productivity on their own terms.

Enterprise App Stores

The IT team is traditionally responsible for the purchase and configuration of all types of enterprise and business-related software. Thanks to recent developments in the concept of enterprise app stores, getting the software you need installed and configured as quickly as possible has never been easier. Think about how easy it is to download an app onto your smart phone — you just open up the built-in app store, select the software you want and it is available for use a few seconds later. Enterprise app stores function in the same basic way but offer the wide-ranging software you need to efficiently complete business on a daily basis.

By embracing new technology that makes the lives of your IT professionals easier, they in turn will have an easier time setting up and maintaining the complex infrastructure required for your business to function. Embracing certain aspects like cloud computing is also a great way to pass those benefits onto general employees and increase productivity and lower operational costs at the same time.

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5 Things to Keep In Mind When Upgrading Your Computer!

Are you thinking about upgrading your computer and equipment for your business or home, but don’t really know the where to start. There are a variety of options when start your search.

  • Desktop or maybe Laptop?
  • How much RAM do I need?
  • What is be RAM?
  • Should I go PC or MAC?
  • How much should I spend?

By the time you have found the answers to these questions (and more! ), and you start the search for a new computer and equipment the options seem overwhelming!

We feel your pain; we understand how difficult it can be to make all of these decisions.

So we have decided to help, our franchise owners are always available to help you choose the best computers and equipment for your home or business, but there are still a few things you need to keep in mind.

Below are the 5 things you keep in mind and establish before beginning your search for a new computer and equipment.

1. Set a Budget – There is be nothing worse than buying something and feeling an instant pang of regret, because you went over budget.  This is especially resonant with business owners. You do not want to over spend. So decide how much money you want to spend per computer, and stick to it!

2. Outline How You will be Using the Computer – You need to know, in advance, what programs you will  be running (internet based also), if you will be utilizing the Microsoft Office Suite, if there are any specific programs or utilities that are needed in your industry. It may even be useful to have your office staff track the programs that that they use over several weeks to get a clear picture of what they need and why.

3. Grasp Computer Jargon – Don’t allow “tech confusion” to set in, stay ahead with the curve and prepare. Find out exactly what words like RAM (memory), processor speed, Input Ports & Drivers, Wireless Functionality, and software applications may be included mean. You should know what they mean and understand how they impact your computer and equipment needs. Confirm that whoever is aiding you in the buying process knows what programs you need to run your business, and can make sure the computers that you are purchasing have the necessary capabilities.  And, that they can tell if you the programs you are interested in are included or if you have to purchase them separately.

4. Read Product Reviews – There is not a better method to decide if something is worth acquiring than reading a review from an individual that is currently using the product daily for the same purpose as you and your business. All of the big box retailers and online outlets should have products reviews on their website. You also needs to utilize resources like CNet (reviews. cnet. com/) and PC Magazine (www. pcmag. com/reviews). These resources should have unbiased opinions and will many times compare several models against one another.

5. Protect Your Investment – The last activity is making sure that you are prepared with a virus and spyware package. This is the most important part of protecting your computer and investment. It will get attacked eventually and you must be prepared when this happens. Many have auto-updates, auto-removal, cleanup and renewal alerts.

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End of Life of Windows XP-How Will It Affect You and Your Business?

Who plans a funeral years and years in advance? Microsoft – that’s who!

Next year on April 8th, Microsoft officially ends Windows XP operating system’s life cycle. Even with over 600 million worldwide users, Microsoft will no longer sell or support Windows XP and Office 2003. There will be no automatic fixes, updates, free assisted online technical support and security updates. Unfortunately, many of the 600 million users either don’t know or have forgotten about the funeral. If you like it or not, it’s time to accept the death of XP and make a plan for the future.

“When XP goes out of support, it’ll be a lot like driving a car that you can’t buy parts for anymore,” said Jay Paulus, Microsoft’s Director of Windows Small Business Marketing.

If you are feeling like you missed the memo, apparently you are not alone. Microsoft’s customer surveys indicate that for enterprises with 5-250 employees, only 55% of them know about the end of XP and 70% have no idea what the change will entail or how it will impact their business!

Are you part of this group?

Upgrade or Your Business Might Face the Consequences of Security and Compliance Issues

You should take this situation seriously and find out immediately if any of your computers are still running XP. If the answer is yes, your business can be negatively impacted with some significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Windows XP migration plan.

  • Security Risks: The biggest problem is the security threat to your business. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information are vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. There is a strong likelihood that malicious viruses will be unleashed on XP’s “zero day”, leaving undefended computers immobilized and viruses spreading quickly over the net to PCs still operating on XP. No business owner wants to think about a virus spreading through all of the computers that keep your business functioning.
  • Compliance Issues: For many businesses, continuing to operate XP can result in compliance issues leading to the suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation.
  • Upgrade Expenses: As a business owner trying to control costs, do you think an upgrade will be too expensive? Think again. Some experts view a business that continues to run XP as a liability bordering on irresponsibility. The problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade.
  • Custom Support Available for a Price: For businesses in denial about the end of XP, support will actually remain available after April 8, 2014 but at the annual cost of $200 per device. Depending on the number of computers your business is using, it’s not much of a bargain. In reality, this is only a temporary, contingency plan.

Security and compliance are perhaps the two most critical issues facing the business community in regards to the end of the XP life cycle. Tim Rains, Microsoft’s Director of Trustworthy Computing, stated in Microsoft’s Security Blog, “After April 8, attackers will likely have more information about vulnerabilities in Windows XP than defenders.”

Do You Have an XP Migration Plan in Place?

Microsoft is fully invested in ending XP’s life cycle, so this is not a situation you can simply ignore. It’s happening on April 8, 2014, so mark your calendar. Most large organizations have been working on their migration plans for years. For small-medium sized business owners, the hour is getting late so we strongly encourage you to take action today!

Windows 7 and Windows 8 offer greater efficiency for enhanced productivity; more fully integrated WiFi and Bluetooth; improved user-interface; less down time and decreased labor costs for repairs. Again, Computer Troubleshooters encourages you to take this situation seriously and develop a migration plan immediately. Our experts can help you understand your XP migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy for your business. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office today before it’s too late.

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The Top Seven Reasons to Consider Outsourced It Support

Outsourced IT support services are becoming increasingly popular for both large corporations and small-medium sized business. Outsourced IT support typically includes some combination of the following services: web development and hosting; data storage via cloud services; application and software development; database development and management; application support and management; telecommunications; security; social media management; help desk services and technical support. Business owners see the value in outsourcing as a way to remain competitive by having access to the latest technology and skilled IT professionals while also watching the bottom-line.

Here are the top seven reasons to take advantage of outsourced IT support services:

1: Expertise and efficiency is immediately available by outsourcing your IT functions. IT service providers have a wide range of technical expertise and are focused on delivering efficient strategies and outcomes to their clients.

2: Control equipment costs by saving on your initial capital outlay for IT infrastructure which can be especially costly for a new business. At any stage of the game, the money you save on IT infrastructure can be invested into creating various income streams or directed towards operations that generate revenue.

3: Control operational costs by paying only for the specific IT tasks you need accomplished. Also, you can even save on monthly expenses such as rent by needing less office space for fewer employees and less equipment.

4: Staffing becomes more flexible by eliminating full time staff to manage IT functions. As a business owner, you won’t need to worry about a full-time employee being trained, skilled and experienced for each new IT project. Simply call your IT service provider and a skilled professional is available to help.

5: Stability is an important issue for any business. Time lost on employee turn-over, training, equipment upgrades and technical problems will become issues of the past.

6: Stay competitive even if you don’t have a big budget for IT expenses. Through economies of scale, outsourced IT support services provide access to “big business” technology and professional expertise that you need for your business to stay competitive. This competitive edge will impress your clients.

7: Focus on your business by not wasting time worrying about IT headaches. Business owners can save both time and money by working with a skilled IT service provider who is an expert in the field. By outsourcing IT responsibilities, you can streamline business practices and focus on your core responsibility – running your business.

Computer Troubleshooters specializes in outsourced IT support services. Please call Computer Troubleshooters today and one of our computer professionals can help you with further information on the benefits of IT support services and a customized service plan for your business.

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Computer Troubleshooters’ Franchisees to Benefit from Enhanced Vendor Relationship with Autotask

Computer Troubleshooters is the largest international network of franchise owners providing onsite computer services to small and medium-sized businesses and residential users. A core feature of Computer Troubleshooters’ continued success is their preferred vendor program. As of July 1, 2013, Computer Troubleshooters is proud to announce an enhanced vendor relationship with Autotask Corporation, the leading provider of IT management software that streamlines business processes for technology solution providers.

The new contract provides Computer Troubleshooters’ franchisees with access to Autotask’s Pro Premium software and its complete business management platform for technology services businesses.  Autotask’s Pro Premium includes CRM; Service Desk; Project Management; Client access portals; Live Reports; and integration with many of the industry’s top vendors.  Computer Troubleshooters has enjoyed a long-standing vendor relationship with Autotask and the announcement of this upgraded new program will benefit both Computer Troubleshooters’ franchise owners and their clients.

Computer Troubleshooters’ Vendor Relationships

Computer Troubleshooters provides franchisees with the benefits of the most exclusive vendor relationships in the industry. With the number of franchisees involved, Computer Troubleshooters is able to leverage opportunities and negotiate excellent pricing. Computer Troubleshooters sees the value in their Vendor Program and is continually working on new relationships, programs, products and training to benefit franchisees. The newly negotiated contract with Autotask for their Pro Premium program offers enhanced services to Computer Troubleshooters’ franchisees at highly competitive rates.

About Computer Troubleshooters

Computer Troubleshooters is the largest international network of franchise owners providing onsite computer services to small and medium sized businesses and residential users. Computer Troubleshooters now has over 475 franchises worldwide in more than 28 countries. Computer Troubleshooters’ excellent franchising opportunities provide continual technical training and support; access to exclusive vendor relationships; access to office administration and billing systems; a local website with SEO services; plus active marketing campaigns that make it easy for customers to find the services of local franchises. The combination of these features makes Computer Troubleshooters the best choice for our clients and a great business opportunity for our franchisees.

For further information about Computer Troubleshooters, please contact:
Halli Evans
Director of Marketing
Computer Troubleshooters
877-392-6278 x38
hevans@comptroub.com
http://www.comptroub.com

About Autotask Corporation

Autotask Corporation provides the world’s leading hosted IT business management software to streamline and optimize business processes for technology solution providers. The software integrates a broad range of critical business systems, including customer relationship management (CRM), service desk, tech scheduling, project management, billing and reporting, and provides real-time service delivery intelligence to help users understand the factors that drive their business and their profitability.

Autotask is accessible from virtually any computing or mobile device connected to the Internet and features a world-class API that seamlessly integrates with the other systems and tools that providers rely on to run their businesses.

For more information about Autotask Corporation and products, please visit www.autotask.com or call 518-720-3500 Ext. 1

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The Top Seven Reasons to Consider Outsourced IT Support

Outsourced IT support services are becoming increasingly popular for both large corporations and small-medium sized business.  Outsourced IT support typically includes some combination of the following services:  web development and hosting; data storage via cloud services; application and software development; database development and management;  application support and management; telecommunications; security; social media management; help desk services and technical support.  Business owners see the value in outsourcing as a way to remain competitive by having access to the latest technology and skilled IT professionals while also watching the bottom-line.

Here are the top seven reasons to take advantage of outsourced IT support services:

1: Expertise and efficiency is immediately available by outsourcing your IT functions. IT service providers have a wide range of technical expertise and are focused on delivering efficient strategies and outcomes to their clients.

2: Control equipment costs by saving on your initial capital outlay for IT infrastructure which can be especially costly for a new business. At any stage of the game, the money you save on IT infrastructure can be invested into creating various income streams or directed towards operations that generate revenue.

3: Control operational costs by paying only for the specific IT tasks you need accomplished. Also, you can even save on monthly expenses such as rent by needing less office space for fewer employees and less equipment.

4: Staffing becomes more flexible by eliminating full time staff to manage IT functions. As a business owner, you won’t need to worry about a full-time employee being trained, skilled and experienced for each new IT project. Simply call your IT service provider and a skilled professional is available to help.

5: Stability is an important issue for any business. Time lost on employee turn-over, training, equipment upgrades and technical problems will become issues of the past.

6: Stay competitive even if you don’t have a big budget for IT expenses. Through economies of scale, outsourced IT support services provide access to “big business” technology and professional expertise that you need for your business to stay competitive. This competitive edge will impress your clients.

7: Focus on your business by not wasting time worrying about IT headaches. Business owners can save both time and money by working with a skilled IT service provider who is an expert in the field.  By outsourcing IT responsibilities, you can streamline business practices and focus on your core responsibility – running your business.

Computer Troubleshooters specializes in outsourced IT support services. Please call Computer Troubleshooters today and one of our computer professionals can help you with further information on the benefits of IT support services and a customized service plan for your business.

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Computer Troubleshooters Awarded for the Third Year in a Row!

We are proud to announce that for the third year in a row Computer Troubleshooters Canada has been recognized by the Canadian Franchise Association!

The Canadian Franchise Association has awarded us the Bronze CFA Award of Excellence in Franchising Category for “Non-Traditional Franchises – Mature/Established as well as the 2013 Franchisees’ Choice Designee, presented by the Canadian Franchise Association (www.cfa.ca).

These awards are very special to us as they recognize the incredible relationship we have with our franchisees.

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