All posts by SystemsNet

Protect Your Small Business-Top 7 Anti-Virus Programs

Choosing the right anti-virus package for your business can be confusing, but there are some top contenders you should definitely

Choosing the right anti-virus package for your business can be confusing, but there are some top contenders you should definitely

Small business owners work very hard to make their company well-known and successful. The amount of work required to successfully run your own business is phenomenal, and you want to protect that work from anything that could damage it. Some people might consider just using the free antivirus software that comes with your machines-why not? After all, it’s free, and being a small business owner also means cutting costs… Some of these free options might provide you with adequate protection, but the hassle of installing it separately on each machine and then trusting users not to fiddle with any of the settings-well, that’s where it becomes a real headache. Most top-notch antivirus programs offer easy installation across your entire network, restrict users from being able to change any settings, and give you enhanced management options. Choosing an anti-virus package can be confusing, but consider the following top contenders during your research:

  1. Bitdefender. Bitdefender continuously tops the list of antivirus software for small businesses. The Small Office Security software boasts fast and easy installation, and can be used to protect multiple devices. Features include protection from  malware, rootkits, viruses, phishing, and data loss, as well as a centralized management dashboard. Bitdefender is always on and automatically updates-for added security, users do not have the option to change the settings or deactivate protection. Bitdefender uses Windows Network Discovery to find all network devices through remote, link, or email deployment options.
  2. Kaspersky. Kaspersky is another top name in network security, receiving very high scores in independent testing. Kaspersky Small Office Security is a less expensive choice than Bitdefender, but it does provide excellent protection for up to 25 on Windows-based machines and Android devices. Features include antivirus protection, secure online banking, backup tools, and mobile device protection.
  3. AVG. AVG Antivirus Business Edition is a highly effective choice for safeguarding your business and customer information. Features include AVG’s award-winning firewall, Smart scanner, network antivirus, file server security, and remote management. AVG’s antivirus package offers greater control by allowing you to remotely manage your protection from a single console. Smart scanner only scans PCs while they are not being used, ensuring efficient operation during work time.
  4. Symantec. Symantec Endpoint Protection Small Business Edition is simple to use, and can be installed on a single machine or across the whole network. Symantec has both cloud-management and on-premise management options, and offers the typical protection against viruses, worms, trojans, and spyware without slowing down performance. In addition, Symantec Insight and SONAR technologies are able to detect new and mutating malware, including unknown threats.
  5. Panda. Panda Cloud Office Protection is one of the more expensive options out there, although independent tests rated it as only fair for network protection.  The package does offer many unique features in addition to antivirus and firewall-features such as device control, which allows you to restrict how different devices are used. The top-notch web-based management system offers many installation options and gives constant reports on security status. The package offers more hands-on management options than other security programs, but isn’t top of the line for core antivirus protection.
  6. Avast!. Avast! Endpoint Protection is a good choice for very small business owners who may not be able to afford all the bells and whistles available in more comprehensive antivirus programs. Avast! is akin to ordering food a la carte-you pick and choose and then pay only for options you want. You can choose the most basic antivirus protection and have a very simple product that offers core antivirus, browsing protection, and remote management.  Upgrading to Endpoint Plus will add a firewall and spam filtering and still be less expensive than most competitors.
  7. VIPRE. VIPRE Antivirus Small Office offers small and home-based business owners an integrated patch management that protects against infections from out-of-date software. VIPRE also offers top notch features such as protection from viruses, spyware, trojans, worms, and adware without slowing down your systems, business-class support, and network defense against bad links.

These are some of the top-rated antivirus packages on the market right now, but if you are still unsure of what your business really needs, please feel free to contact us.

How to be Successful in the IT Industry

Careers in IT can incredibly rewarding. Usually the hours are flexible, the work is varied, and jobs are very highly paid, so what’s the catch?

Competition

While there is no catch as such, jobs in IT are in high demand, and when positions become available competition is fierce.

If you are totally committed to securing a position long-term, you must be prepared to stand out and get yourself noticed. Being yet another face in the crowd in this industry simply won’t cut it.

So how can you get yourself on that essential first rung of the ladder to success?

Advice From Our President

C. Joseph Keesey

C. Joseph Keesey

One man who certainly knows what it takes to succeed in the IT industry is our own president here at SystemsNet, C. Joseph Keesey.

Joseph is a software developer with over 15 years’ experience in the fast pace world of information technology. He began his career as a network admin assistant and steadily worked his way through each area of IT, giving him experience and knowledge to handle the challenges facing many companies today.

As a software developer he has worked with Insurance, Distribution, Manufacturing, Financial, and Retail industries; providing solutions to solve their business problems, utilizing custom software and existing technologies in the market place.

In a recent interview with CBS Philly, Joseph revealed his tips for rising to the top:

“The key to growth within the field is to never stop learning and to be open to new ways of doing things.”

He also emphasizes the need for a good education to form the basis of your chosen career path:

“Education plays a strong role in landing a position within the technology realm. Customers want technology service firms that understand their business and their technology, the products implemented, and above all have experience in dealing with the issues at hand. Good technicians in the field originally went to some higher learning institution, but those original tools were just the stepping-stones. Individuals in our field are constantly learning new technology or partnering with firms that can bring the skill set to the organization.”

The essential key element to success in the IT industry though is to never stop learning:

“A complete knowledge of the business applications used by a customer’s organization is required to be effective in our field. Technicians that move ahead the fastest have taken some type of higher education which gives them an edge. Individuals in our field are constantly learning, as the industry is always evolving”

Read the full article here

What School Can’t Teach

Not everyone is suited to a career in IT, and there are certain skills needed that simply can’t be learnt at school. You will need life, business, and marketing skills, along with the ability to handle stressful situations and difficult clients.

There will be times when things just don’t go to plan, and the ability to improvise and find new solutions is going to be necessary.

Desire and Passion

As our president mentioned in the above article, IT is an ever-changing industry. The moment new technology is released, it is already out of date and the next new thing is hot on its heels. Therefore, anyone wishing to tackle a career in IT must have a strong desire to learn. You will be challenged daily to learn something new. If you don’t like learning, then the IT field simply is not for you.

Passion for their work is an essential ingredient for every IT worker. If you don’t love technology and the problem solving that goes with it, IT is not the right career choice for you. That passion is the one key emotion that can often get you through the day, or night when all else has failed.

Not to be disheartened, IT really is an exciting field to work in. You get play with new technology, solve problems, ensure businesses continue to operate smoothly every working day, and not forgetting you will be well rewarded for doing so!

Tape-based Backup is Dead

tape storageTapes are probably something you haven’t heard about in a while, unless you’re referring to them in the past tense. It may surprise you to realize some businesses continue to use tapes in various capacities to protect data and it sounds antiquated, but is there something more to this than meets the eye?

Why are Tapes Still in Existence?

In answer to the question proposed in the introduction, that’s a no. Tapes are old and inferior to current backup methods. You have disks and cloud storage, to name just two options available to you. There are no situations where tapes are better.

The reason people still use them is history. They were once the king of the backup. People generally don’t like to change unless they’re forced to. As long as tapes exist, people will continue to use them because they’re familiar with them.

You’re damaging your security by doing this though. Here are some of the reasons why you should be moving away from tapes.

 Data Storage Limits

A tape will never hold as much as a disk. With computers being able to hold more data than ever, carrying big files is no sweat. It will be a problem when you attempt to store these important files on a tape. They can’t hold as much data, which means you’ll need to buy more of them or you will need to span several tapes to create a backup set.

Not only does this increase your storage costs, it’s also an organizational issue. You try making a corporation run their backups off of disks. You would have to implement a complex organizational structure to make sure you can access the correct data when you need it.

Fragility

Tapes are notoriously unreliable. They were always problematic back when they were the prime storage method of choice and nothing has changed today. The slightest jolt can damage the internals and cause it to corrupt data. As a business, you can’t afford for this to happen.

In some industries, losing important data can leave you open to legal action. Is this what you want?

No Difference in Ease of Use

What stands out most of all is the fact tapes are no easier to use than disks. Modern technology is so often more difficult to use than what came before, but this isn’t the case with disks and cloud storage. Anyone can use them, plus in many cases it’s easier and more convenient to store something online than on a tape.

Unless you’re already familiar with tapes, it would be harder to introduce someone to tapes than to simply upgrade.

Let it Die

You can store more data, save money, and become more efficient by storing your essential files on a modern storage device. Tapes have no advantages and are inferior in every single way. Don’t let your natural resistance to change damage your business security. Invest in a modern backup system today and let the tape become a relic of the past!

 

Why Companies Should Switch to VoIP

voip operatorVoice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the replacement for a traditional phone line. It allows you to make and receive phone calls wherever you want. It’s the natural progression of the humble telephone.

This might be the first time you’ve wondered whether a VoIP system is right for your business. In this article, we’re going to discuss why being able to communicate with this technology can benefit your organization.

What You Heard Before Doesn’t Apply

Many businesses haven’t switched to VoIP because they remember what it was like when it initially appeared. The sound quality issues have been repaired and in many cases, receiving a call over a VoIP system is superior to a traditional phone line. You also have far more features than a standard phone. Remember, VoIP harnesses the power of the Internet as well.

Reducing Costs

VoIP uses your data network to leverage calls. Traditional phone networks don’t do this. You have to use a third-party to leverage calls. By handling telecommunications yourself, you’re reducing your costs. You can save hundreds of dollars a month on incoming and outgoing calls.

For a big business, this can translate to thousands of dollars saved in the long-term.

More Flexibility

The biggest benefit of VoIP is the sheer amount of flexibility. Let’s just take a look at some of the examples relating to flexibility:

1. You can take your phone system around with you. As long as you can connect to the network in some way, you can talk wherever you want.

2. Purchase a special type of software with your package and you’ll be able to make and receive calls on your computer or laptop through a soft phone. This is ideal for companies receiving regular calls because they can be combined with specialized headsets.

3. Use virtual phone numbers. VoIP isn’t fixed to a certain geographical area. Now you can use an area code for any state in the country. This is particularly advantageous if you’re trying to give off an illusion of being a local business

Easy Movement

Moving business premises is a hassle due to the fact you have to call the phone company and get them to move your number. VoIP can work from anywhere. Your geographic location is irrelevant. It means you can move around the country and retain the same numbers.

This is particularly useful if you have a memorable number you want to keep for the sake of your customers and your marketing campaigns.

Your Control

Phone companies often vary in quality when it comes to support and the packages they offer. VoIP puts you in control. If there’s a problem with the network, you’re the one in control. You aren’t relying on a third-party to sort the problem out for you. In the world of business, this is a major advantage to your telecommunications arrangement. To make sure you do not have any problems, also install an appliance that delivers Quality of Service (QOS), which will ensure that your phones have the bandwidth necessary to make phone calls when you need to and not have the echo and chatter of the past.