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How Two Factor Authentication Can Save Your Business Money

In 2017, the number of exposed records and data breaches reached an all-time high according to Statista. The 1,579 data breaches serve as a reminder that our accounts aren’t always as safe as we think they are! The simple “username and password” log-in approach can be compromised within minutes by skilled hackers. Even with your longest and complicated passwords! Your business needs an additional security layer that addresses the vulnerabilities of a standard password-only approach.

What is Two Factor Authentication?

Two Factor Authentication, commonly abbreviated, 2FA, is a method of securing online accounts through two means of authorization. In the case of two factor authentication, you’ll need two factors (or verifications) to successfully log in. This includes something you know, usually a password, and some other method of verifying your identity. This is usually a code sent via text or email. It’s essentially an extra layer of protection designed to ensure that you’re the only person who can access your account, even if someone else knows your password.

Purpose of Two Factor Authentication

An email or any other cloud-based application hack can cost a company thousands of dollars. Hackers aren’t reading your emails for fun. They’re going in to learn how your company works. They’re waiting to see how they can utilize that information to their own gain. Hackers can look through emails for private client information like bank account numbers, or personally identifying information. Once the hacker finds the information they need, they can steal huge amounts of money.

Phishing scams, where fake but authentic-looking emails are used to steal information, are one of the easiest ways hackers can gain password information. When two factor authentication is used, it makes it considerably harder for a hacker to be successful in logging into the account.

Even if the hacker is able to crack your password, they won’t be able to log into the account without access to your second factor. Some of the benefits of two factor authentication include improved security, reduction of fraud and theft, and the increase of productivity and flexibility.

Security Solutions for You and Your Business

The easiest and most common way to implement two factor is by receiving a text message with an access code every time you log into an account. But, no solution is 100% secure. Getting two factor authentication from text messaging does have some vulnerabilities. Specifically, it leaves you exposed if someone steals your smartphone or its SIM card.

For businesses with high-security needs, hardware-based two factor authentication is the most secure option. Instead of typing in a passcode from a text message to log in, a physical security key has to be plugged into your device when prompted. This method is often used for highly sensitive systems used industries such as the financial and healthcare industries. Security keys can be found online for as low as $20 and are available for both desktop computers and mobile phones!

Our Favorite Free 2FA Applications

Many websites you use for business have some sort of two factor authentication built in such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon, and Rackspace. To protect your other online accounts, there are apps specifically for providing two factor security. Our two favorite 2FA apps are Authy and Google Authenticator.

  • Authy simplifies using 2FA on your online accounts using your smartphone. It generates a code each time you open the app. You’ll have 20 seconds to log in after which Authy will generate a new code. It’s free, desktop and mobile-friendly, and available Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Chrome.
  • Google Authenticator is a mobile-only app, so you’ll need to have your phone with you. This provides stronger security for your Google Account. A small authenticator is tied to a single device, you must manually change it in your Google settings when you switch phones.

Personal Use of Two Factor Authentication

We don’t just recommend this for businesses, it’s important to protect your personal accounts as well. Many of the social platforms that you use every day have options for enhancing security.

Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter all have options for two factor authentication. Go to the settings of your account, then scroll down to security. Each application has different options including the texting feature we’ve mentioned. Utilizing two factor authentication whenever possible will help to keep you safe online!

John On Two Factor Authentication:


Two factor authentication is only one step in security. There are many ways to keep yourself protected online, such as using secure cloud storage, secure online backup, and a VPN solution. We help our clients to ensure the security covers all of their users! Let’s chat about how we can improve your business security!

Guardian Computer’s Tech Gift Guide

The holidays are right around the corner, making it the best time to treat yourself or your business to some new tech! The whole Guardian Computer team got together to pick out these awesome options for our 2018 tech gift guide. From hands-free assistants to wireless headphones to a handheld translator, we’ve got all the tech gifts you need this holiday season for personal and business use in the Guardian Computer Tech Gift Guide!

Tech Gift Guide For Businesses

PNY Elite-X 512GB USB 3.1 Flash Drive ($100)Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide flash-drive

When asked about the perfect gift this holiday season, Charles suggested the PNY Elite-X flash drive. “Nothing is as handy as keeping your entire music, movie, pictures and well…everything right in your pocket.” This easy to encrypt USB is perfect for safe and on-the-go storage. It provides speedy files transfers with 200 MB per second. It’s also compatible with most PC and Mac laptop and desktop computers. This gift is perfect for anyone but especially those in the education, finance, or legal industry to use at the office, at home, and at school. Also, this flash drive is great for emergency data recovery, with 512gb of storage, this can be used to keep your most important files with you.


 Eufy Smart Scale ($30)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide Scale

Jeremy suggests The Eufy Smart Scale, “a stylish and affordable scale that works in conjunction with an app you can use on your smartphone or tablet.” The app helps to track multiple aspects of your health to provide you with insight into your well-being. The Smart Scale also connects with the Google Fit and Apple Health apps to sync data. With the ability to sync up to 20 user accounts, the Eufy Smart Scale is perfect for families who are all about fitness or for your colleague who works in the healthcare industry!


Google Wifi Mesh ($249)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide Google wifi Mesh

Our President, Jean said, “Google Wifi is the easiest and most manageable router, period.” It’s a Wifi router that works well, even in old houses with thick walls. No more connecting to other someone’s public wifi! Unlike the traditional router, Google Wifi Mesh sets up multiple points throughout your home to create a “mesh” network that delivers a consistently strong, secure signal. It might not be flashy with lots of controls, but it more than makes up for it in unmatched simplicity! This gift is perfect for business owners in old New Orleans buildings and work-from-homers.


Adobe Acrobat Pro DC ($14.99/month)

Dani suggests giving the gift of Adobe this holiday season! With Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, you can create, edit, share and sign PDFs. This program also allows you to collaborate with people in remote locations! Rather than being Windows or Mac specified, users on all platforms can use this and its features are the same. This makes working with PDFs easily accessible from any device while on-the-go! It also integrates with Microsoft Office 2016 and Office 365. “With PDFs being optionally secured to be both read-only and tamper-evident, they are the preferred file format for most legal documents,” Dani says. This makes the perfect gift for someone in the legal industry!


ili Translator ($199)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide I am ili

The ili translator is so awesome! You simply just press the button, speak into the mic, and it translates your sentence from English to Spanish, Mandarin or Japanese (one-way) in as little as 0.2 seconds. Charlie says, “The device is primarily designed for travel, however, I’ve used it for many other day-to-day quick communications.” It also has a built-in library of short sentences and common travel sentences. No wi-fi is required so this pocket translator is perfect to use anywhere you want!


Google Home Mini ($29)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide Google home

Get hands-free help in any room. Ryan says that “the Google Home Mini is a bargain for the value and ever-increasing options.” With this device, you can play music from your favorite streaming service, set reminders, create to-do lists, play your favorite radio stations, ask questions powered by the Google Assistant, and control any smart home devices you may have around the house. It’s also built for kid-friendly fun, including trivia games or read-a-longs that help to bring stories to life with music and sound effects. This is a great gift for anyone in the education industry to implement inside the classroom!


Fitbit Charge 3 ($150)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide Fitbit

Charles suggests getting the tech-loving fitness guru in your life a Fitbit Charge 3. “It’s one of, if not, the most advanced fitness trackers on the market,” Charles says. This lightweight fitness tracker tracks your heart rate, calories burned, hours of sleep, distance and more with a battery life of up to 7 days! Also, the Fitbit app lets you customize your workout routine and allows you to run reports, so you can see your progress come alive. This gift is perfect for the tech and health nut in your life.


Samsung Gear IconX wireless earbuds ($180)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide headphones

“If you own a Samsung smartphone, your next purchase should be the Samsung Gear IconX wireless earbuds,” John says. He has always hated earbuds because they don’t stay in his ears for more than 2 minutes but these wireless earbuds have a small wing that tucks in just right to keep them securely in your ears. The Gear IconX earbuds also work as standalone media players when you upload music from your phone. You can play playlists, navigate tracks, and turn up the volume with simple taps and swipes! Also, the batteries last for days. This is the perfect gift for anyone always on-the-go!


RoboForm Password Manager ($40/user/year)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide roboform

With so many apps and programs that require a login these days, it’s become hard to keep up and remember so many passwords! Sherri suggested getting RoboForm this holiday season, “this little gem of software can be used not only in the work environment ANYONE can and should use it!” RoboForm does all the remembering and creating for you. You only need to remember one password which will give you access and logins to all your different accounts in just a couple of clicks! This is perfect for any and everyone no matter what industry you’re in.


Plantronics CS530 Wireless Headset ($245)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide headset

According to Dani, this is the most comfortable and lightweight wireless headset. Being on the phone all day, she needs something that doesn’t hurt her ear and audio that is crystal clear. Plantronics CS530 Wireless Headset’s quality digital sound is combined with both mobility and multitasking! It supports multi-headset conferencing for up to four headsets with a low probability of interference. You can get up to six hours of talk time and range up to 350 feet from your desk phone. The Plantronics Wireless Headset is a must-have if you are on the phone all day.


OnePlus Bullets ($20)

Image result for oneplus bullets type c

“The era of analog headphones is behind us. If you own a flagship iPhone as well as many leading Android brands, you may be dealing with no headphone jack. The OnePlus Bullets are what the basic earbuds from a convenience store used to provide,” Ryan says. These wireless headphones provide great sound quality and are designed for durability and comfort. You can also switch between music, calls, and Google Assistant effortlessly. Whether you’re heading to work, working out or relaxing, these headphones will stay in place!


Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide doorbell

Kids at home while you’re still at work? Jean Prejean suggests the Ring Video Doorbell Pro as a great way to keep an eye on them! The motion detector alerts you on your phone when someone approaches the door, so you not only know when your kids get home, but you also know when friends or strangers have arrived, even after dark. You also have the option to talk to the person at the door from wherever you are. Jean says the biggest plus is that it was easy to install!


Dropbox ($12.50/month)

Want to work better, safer, and together? Dani suggests Dropbox which allows you to easily store and share your documents, videos, and photos while also having easy access on any device whenever needed! “With 3 ways to access – the desktop application, online, and the DropBox mobile application – it’s more than convenient to use,” Dani says! Dropbox syncs and backs up on its own, so you don’t have to worry about losing anything and if you accidentally delete something it can be easily restored. If changes are made on one document, on one device, they will sync to appear on all other linked devices. Also, it enables HIPAA compliance!


Logitech K480 Keyboard ($50)

Guardian Computers Tech Gift Guide Keyboard

Jeremy suggests getting this affordable, high-quality little Bluetooth keyboard that works perfectly with your computer, tablet, and smartphone this year. To switch between your wireless devices, simply turn the easy-switch dial. Also, there is an integrated cradle that holds your phone or tablet at just the right angle for you to read while you type!


We admit it, this fun tech gift guide aside, we’re technology fanatics! We’re always keeping up to date on the latest and greatest technology. We use our technical know-how to help our clients gain productivity by helping them choose and utilize the best products for their business. Want to talk all things keyboards, flash drives, or wifi? Contact us!

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How Big Commercial IT Help Desk Solutions Can Harm Your Business

There is no substitution for knowledgeable, helpful, real-human service.

Those big-box commercial IT help desks simply can’t compete with personalized customer service. When you need IT solutions, you don’t want to be a number in a queue, wait on hold four hours, or wait to be helped next Tuesday between 10 AM and 5 PM. You need effective solutions immediately, right? That’s where we come in.

Whenever You Need Us, We’re Available

Rather than going back and forth for ten or more emails, we believe that a simple five-minute phone call with a qualified and knowledgeable staff member can fix your IT problem. We pride ourselves on the fact that if you call Guardian Computer, whoever answers the phone can fix your problem.

When is the last time you talked to a team of actual experts with a commercial IT help desk? We know that saving your time and solving problems quickly can be hugely beneficial for your business.

The Personal Touch Really Does Matter

We sometimes hear that great customer service doesn’t matter so long as the problem is fixed. We wholeheartedly disagree! Having a personal relationship with our customers isn’t just nice for them, it’s helpful for us too! It helps to build up our team relationship and retain our staff.

At Guardian Computer, our employees are a big, friendly family and our clients are extensions of that family. We work hard to make sure that all of our client-business relationships are unique, by having their back with any and all IT problems.

Even when we can’t have a one-on-one, in-person conversation with a customer, we make sure they know we are still there for them. We’re just a phone call or email away! We make sure that all of our interactions with our customers are real, personal and engaging.

Our Personal Edge

We pride ourselves in knowing our clients as people, not numbers or line items. Our business is small enough to get intimately familiar with our clients’ specific needs. At Guardian Computer, we make sure that what we offer is closely aligned with our clients’ needs and aspirations.

A positive organizational culture is critical to success!

Having a close focus on the client’s work helps us to rectify their problems quickly, and to delve far more deeply into potential issues. Rather than dealing with an impersonal commercial, IT help desk call center, our clients call us, the people they know. And we are available and authentic on the other end of the line.

Over 20 Years of Expertise

We’re a close-knit team at Guardian Computer! Maintaining a positive work environment helps us to keep quality people on staff, so our clients can draw on their knowledge of their business. Our team members are cross-trained as subject matter experts, so our clients don’t get volleyed from one tech to another.

Also, all of the members of our team are empowered to act in the best interest of our clients. There are no layers of bureaucracy to get an answer or escalate a problem. We are proud to say that anyone answering the phone at Guardian Computer is empowered to solve your IT problem.

Our Flexibility Saves You Time

Small businesses tend to be more nimble than larger businesses. So, their reaction time tends to be faster than big businesses. At Guardian Computer, we can customize the services we provide to a client’s specific, individual needs. We’re also able to adjust to any unexpected changes or issues a client may have. We actively listen to all feedback and observe changing preferences.

Unique Solutions For Your Business

We all hate those impersonal hard sells that turn out to offer something unnecessary. We’re your IT company, not an infomercial!

As a small business, we are able to produce goods and services that stand out from those commercial IT help desk solutions. We understand our clients need to work within a tight budget and don’t need all the extra “fluff”. We don’t use proprietary software and we make sure to include the client in the planning and execution of their services.

Customer Satisfaction Is Always First

At GCIT, we are committed to providing extraordinary service by consistently going the extra mile to create the best experience for our clients. We make sure to deliver reliable, highly individualized, and responsive customer service to all of our clients. Our advanced network monitoring tools allow us to catch the small issues before they become big problems for our clients.


Tired of trying to work with rigid solutions offered by big commercial IT help desks? We offer customized solutions for businesses of all sizes! Let’s chat about how we can improve your business technology.

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Why A Positive Organizational Culture Is Critical In Every Industry

You spend the majority of your week at work, which is why we believe it is so important to be in a positive work environment.

Environment and organizational culture are crucial to employee satisfaction and can have detrimental effects on the workplace no matter what industry you are in. Here at Guardian Computer, we pride ourselves in maintaining our healthy work environment and culture.

A positive organizational culture is critical to success!

Why Is Organizational Culture Important?

A work environment is the location where employees are completing their tasks, and the benefits of working at a company. The culture is the personality of the company itself.

The main reasons we believe work culture is so important are:

  • Maintaining retention, and reducing employee turnover.
  • Encouraging happier employees, which results in positive client relationships.
  • Showing appreciation to employees, which shows that their work is not done in vain.
  • Open communication and transparency, which builds trust with the staff.

For example, Southwest is one of our key role models for the ideal company culture. They value their employees above all else, and they ensure they work in a fun and casual environment. They also commit themselves to provide excellent salaries and benefits along with empowering and appreciating their employees.

Maintaining Retention

In a negative work environment, employee turnover rates can be high. But it’s not always because the employees don’t like the job they are doing. Usually, it’s because they don’t enjoy the work environment or organizational culture they are in.

Having unhappy employees on your hands isn’t great, and having a high employee turnover rate is bad for business! There can be costs when the employee leaves, the costs of hiring new employees, and the cost of training those new hires.

A positive organizational culture is critical to success!

We are proud to say that in over 20 years of business, we haven’t had one single employee quit at Guardian Computer. We don’t believe in the old mantra of “leave your problems at home”. Our office is our employees’ home away from home. Coming to work in our pajamas, bringing our children, and even bringing a puppy to the office are all a-okay!

A positive organizational culture is critical to success!

Encouraging Happy Employees

Happy employees lead to having great pride in their company. When our employees come to work, we want them to come to work feeling good about themselves and their families. Work should be a place where employees feel safe and comfortable rather than stressed or upset. No one wants to miss their child’s afternoon soccer game or not be able to take their elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment.

“We started Guardian Computer in our home because we were having trouble with daycare, and balancing our work and family life. That set the tone for our company culture of making our employees’ personal lives a priority” says our president, Jean Prejean. Employees can concentrate better at the office when they know their family comes first.

We firmly believe that if we take care of our employees, they’ll take care of our clients. Our clients are a part of our work family too, so we strive to have our organizational culture spill over into our interactions with them! We can make the client experience more pleasant with a simple explanation in plain English and a brief chat about our client’s kids. That makes a big difference.

Showing Appreciation

Recognition and appreciation motivates employees and shows them that their work is valued. According to Glassdoor, more than 80 percent of employees say they are motivated to work harder when their boss shows appreciation for their work.

Some ways to show appreciation and recognition are bonuses, raises, and promotions. Our employees appreciate knowing that everyone receives an annual raise due to their personal work performance and the company’s performance. “We never want anyone to think we haven’t noticed their performance or haven’t bothered to review their pay,” says Jean.

Building Trust

Honesty, sincerity, and transparency are the key elements to building trust within your work environment. From celebrating accomplishments to providing support during rough times, we make sure to show our employees our sincerity and commitment to them. It can be something as simple as giving someone the afternoon off if their child kept them up all night or giving a gift card for someone to take their spouse to dinner on their anniversary.

We go out of our way to be as transparent as possible. Open and honest communication helps to solve many difficulties in a positive light. For example, every six months at our team meeting we review the financials, the trends, and goals. This makes sure our employees know what’s going on within the company. Having open communication can also encourage employee feedback. Employee feedback is important because it can be valuable information that in turn helps to make the company better.


Some companies let their organizational culture define itself and it takes a backseat to balance sheets and productivity metrics. At Guardian Computer, we intentionally put our company culture and a positive work environment at the top of our priority list. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of life of our people, both in and out of the office.

Want to join our work family – as an employee or a client? Let’s chat.

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A NOLA IT Professional’s Advice on Staying Safe on the Internet

Everyday there is a battle of Good versus Evil on the internet. Every morning guys and girls like me wake up, have a cup of coffee, and prepare to do battle with malicious programs out there on the world wide web. Fortunately for me, a NOLA IT professional, there are a few lines of defense that make my job a whole heck of a lot easier; namely the end user, firewalls, antivirus software, etc.

But let me be honest, none of these forms of protections are perfect. Firewalls and antivirus software are not entirely impenetrable, and I can’t tell you how many times I come across “PEBKAC” errors [Problem exists between keyboard and chair)], but as a Networking Technician it is my mission to better educate you guys on how to keep your computers safe while exploring the vast sea that is the Internet. This morning, I want to focus on how YOU, the end user; and how YOU can keep your sensitive information safe

1. Never call Microsoft

What do you mean never call Microsoft? Shouldn’t they be the most prepared to confront a virus that has made its way into my operating system?

And the answer to that is… Yes, absolutely. But the bullet point is purposefully misleading to emphasize a point. It should actually read “Never call Microsoft if your computer tells you to do so.” Often times, if we are not careful, we may accidentally click on the wrong button, link, or drop down menu that these internet villains programmed to cause a pop-up to come up on your screen that looks something like this:

nola it professional don't call microsoft
Do NOT Call Microsoft if a Warning Screen like the one Pictured Above Pops Up!

Don’t be alarmed if this happens to you! These pops-up are designed to scare us. Some of them will even cause alarming sounds to come out of your speakers. These sounds are designed to raise your heart rate and spook you into calling that number. DON’T!!! All you have to do is close out of the browser and the message and the annoying sounds should go away. Some of these

Some of these pop-ups are a little more malicious and therefore harder to close, and if that is the case we need to open our Task Manager and force the browser to close.

Here is  a list of instructions at the end of this section about how to do that:

Steps Open/Use Task Manger to Close Pesky Pop-Ups

  1.  Press ctrl+alt+delete.
  2.  Open Task Manger
  3.  Right click on the browser that generated the pop-up
  4.  Select the option that reads “End Task” . The pop-up should close and the noises should stop
  5.  (optional): The likely hook of a virus getting on your machine if you close this popup without clicking else is pretty low, but for safe measure use your antivirus software to run a scan on your computer to make sure it is clean.

Don’t feel alone or dumb if this ever happens to you, everyone here at the office has done it at one point or another. Accidents happen!  Even if you do click the pop-up, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed as long as you’re anti-virus works properly and you don’t call any numbers.

What they want you to do is call this number so they can “show” you that your machine has a “virus,” and then will attempt to solicit you into giving them your credit card information so that they can “fix” your computer. It is ALWAYS a scam. Microsoft will NEVER contact you about viruses on your computer.

2. Uninstall McAfee and Norton Antivirus

I am absolutely certain that everyone who has ever used the internet has heard of Norton and McAfee Antivirus software, and I guarantee that those same individuals, at one point or another, have been prompted to download or even offered a free trial version of these two programs. Well, I’m typing before you today to BEG YOU to avoid this software at all cost. These programs are known to be more malicious to your operating system than most of the common viruses out there. They update at inappropriate times, they may cause your operating system to freeze suddenly, and they definitely do not play nice with other applications on your computer. Not only that, but uninstalling these programs is not exactly a

These programs are known to be more malicious to your operating system than most of the common viruses out there. They update at inappropriate times, they may cause your operating system to freeze suddenly, and they definitely do not play nice with other applications on your computer. Not only that, but uninstalling these programs is not exactly a straight forward process; and even after they are uninstalled occasionally little bits of the software are still left behind on your machine and a technician such as myself will have to open the registry and remove the bits and pieces by hand.

*WARNING! Do not! I repeat! DO NOT open the registry to your computer without knowing exactly what you are doing. While the registry is open, one can destroy the computer’s operating system with a couple of mis-clicks of the mouse; thus, causing the user to lose ALL of the data they have stored on their computer. *

In fact, McAfee is so rough on computers that the former CEO, John McAfee, put out a rather comical but extremely inappropriate video about how to uninstall the McAfee Software; and let’s just say, he “disposes” of the computer entirely using a firearm. (As a disclaimer, I would link you guys the YouTube video but as previously stated the video is extremely inappropriate, and does not reflect the opinions, ideals, or beliefs of Guardian Computer in any way, shape, or form.)

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3. Free Antivirus Software We Recommend

bit defender fre

Bit Defender– If you already have Windows 10 installed on your computer, oh boy do I have good news for you! Windows 10 already has a built in Antivirus Software known as Bit Defender. It works really well for users who do what they are supposed to be doing on their computers and not clicking on anything too suspicious.

avast

Avast– I personally used Avast before I upgraded to windows 10. It generated a few more popups than I would like, but those can easily be turned off in its settings. We really want our antivirus software to be “seen and not herd,” if you know what I mean. I only my antivirus software to yell at me if there is a major problem, but then again if there is a major problem with my computer I am probably going to recognize the change in performance of the computer right around the same time that my antivirus software does.

malwarebytes

Malwarebytes– This is a Guardian Computer’s favorite. We use Malwarebytes pretty much every day to clean up computers that are already infected, and its antivirus works well and will not bog down a computer’s performance. The free version of this software performs a thorough scan of your machine should you ever accidently click on the wrong link and is quick to quarantine these bugs from doing any more damage to your machine.

webroot

Well if that is the case then I would have to recommend using Webroot. This is the soft where we put on all our Managed Services machines and it works like a charm. Occasionally, we will have to step in to fix a few bugs that leak through, but since we have started using Webroot I haven’t seen to many major viruses get through; but that does not give our users the go-ahead to freely click around the Internet I’m just pointing out that it has been doing a solid job of protecting our machines! If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please give us a call at the office and one of our Techs would be happy to discuss the inner workings of Webroot in more detail with you over the phone!

Conclusion from a NOLA IT Professional on Internet Safety

No matter what antivirus you are using do not assume you are completely protected out on the Internet. At the end of the day, it is always up to the user to be cautious of the links they are clicking on and the files they are downloading.

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Landing a Job in the Computer Industry

From the time we are old enough to recognize the sheer power and awesomeness of the almighty dollar, we are told, that every decision we make from here on out will affect our ability to find that first job. Throughout high school, we are introduced to just about every field of study in one way, shape, or form so that we may gauge our interest in the different realms of academia. During our adolescents, some of us will read Shakespeare’s Sonnets and be taken away by the sheer beauty of the English Language. Some of us will develop an intense desire to learn about the history of man and find their passion in the realms of History and Sociology. Then there are the “nerds;” those whose curiosities piqu

e when they use the other half of their brain as they learn to “solve for x” and dissect various animals such as frogs and piglets. But in more recent history children are being introduced to technology earlier and earlier; which only make sense because the technology industry is growing exponentially! The problem with the tech industry is that it is still relatively new and I’m afraid that the kids who develop a curiosity for technology may not know how to go about making a career out of it.

When it comes to landing that first job as doctor, lawyer, teacher, architect, etc. kids are bombarded with notions such as: You HAVE to go to college; You HAVE to learn how to interview well in order to land internships with potential employ, andand you HAVE to be graduate in top 5 percent of your class in order to make a living in a given particular field of study. But when it comes to the technology industry that is not always the case! Lucky for us, we have options when it comes to making our first career move; but it all starts with getting that first interview. So how do we get that first interview? We pad our resume with College Degrees or Certifications.

As a matter of full disclosure, it is only fair that mention how I landed my first job as a Networking Technician. I am a college graduate from Louisiana State University where I acquired a Bachelor’s of Science in the realm of Mathematics with an emphasis in Pure Mathematics. While I was in school, I also took enough Education courses and passed enough Educational Certification Exams to teach High School Mathematics and Biology. With that being said, you must be thoroughly confused about how I got an interview for current position here at Guardian Computer; which leads me to my first point.

My degree and really any college degree for that matter open a lot of doors. Once the resume of a college graduate is placed on a potential employer desk, he can reasonably infer that the applicant is going to be relatively intelligent and a well-rounded individual (or at least I hope so or why else did I have to take 4 English classes to acquire my math degree). Secondly, going to college really offers its students numerous networking opportunities. Now when I say networking of course I’m not talking about routing and switching, but rather I’m referring to the ample opportunities students have to meet people with similar interest and presumably similar career paths. Throughout your career everyone builds up “contact list” of people that can help them push their careers in the right direction, and college is a great place to start building up this list. For example, while I was in college I made three very close friends whose parents owned and operated their own companies, and I have worked for ALL of them at one point or another! Therefore, to finish my story from earlier, once I was armed with my degree and my contact list I was able to get my resume hand delivered to my current boss’s desk and got the job few weeks later! But back to my point…

As go we through college not only do we get the chance to build up this list of contacts, but we also get develop our social skills and get to learn how to work as a team; which I’m sure I do not have to tell you how important these notions are when it comes to developing a great work environment. These notions of socialization and team work are really emphasized by group projects and internships. And let me tell you, college opens up a whole realm of possibilities when it comes to landing internships. Colleges do this so that their graduates have real life experience in their given fields upon graduation. For example, most prominent engineering programs require their students to complete at least a semester worth, if not a full year, of internships before they will even think about giving their students a diploma. And I cannot say this enough, EXPERIENCE IS EVERYTHING!

But I will also be the first to admit that college is not the right learning environment for everyone! Unfortunately, when it comes to getting a college education there are very limited options when it comes to time, place, and subject matter! This is how students like myself end up taking General Chemistry at 8 am every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning; when an hour after that final exam I will not care about the noble gases, moles, or how much hydrogen is left over after given reaction (man that semester was rough). But this is the beauty of the Certification route to landing that first job. Individuals who made their way into the computer industry through the route of certifications have a lot more time to focus on material that they are actually passionate about, and they do not get bogged or bored writing 14-page research papers about the troubled youth of some far off European country (I made an A on that paper by the way). Also with the technology industry being as big as it is we as potential employees can narrow down our scope of studies even further depending on the realm of computing we find to be to be the most prevalent to us or the most enjoyable. For example, some individuals may find their calling in software development, or web design, cyber security, or maybe they are like me and are curious about routing and switching. There are so many paths within the realm of technology that I may have to write an entirely different blog post just encompass all the different fields! Flexibility is the key here!

When it comes to acquiring these certifications one can take classes in the fields they are interested in or if you happen to be like a few of my coworkers you can simply read up on the subject matter and teach yourself the material in the comfort of your own home! But we would be kidding ourselves if we did not recognize the flaws in both of these career paths. As an informed writer, I would be doing the reader a disservice if I did not also mention the drawbacks of each of these educational paths.

When it comes to these technology certifications, they may only last 2 to 3 years before they need to be renewed. This should make sense because the world of technology is ever changing and essentially revolutionizing itself every few years. Therefore, hopefully one can see that it only makes sense that we must keep our certifications up to date to keep up with the changing times! On the other hand, a college degree last forever. It keeps a permanent place on your resume. I never have to go back to school in recertify in Abstract Algebra or Complex Analysis. I get to claim my degree as my own forever and always. It’s mine. I own it, and no one can take it away from me no matter how hard they try. On the other hand, because I never have to go back and recertify, if I don’t use it, I lose it. I’d be lying to you right now if I said I remember everything I learned about Math during my four years in college. Hell. I’d be lying to you if I said I remember everything from the last semester of my senior year! But that’s the beauty and the appeal of these certifications. Employers realize that these candidates, are always up to date on notions within the realm of expertise, so they know that when they hire someone they can go right to work with minimal training!

Now, I know what on everyone’s mind at his point. Which is the cheaper alternative? Where do I get the most ‘bang for my buck’? Again this is another topic that I could write an entirely different blog post the covers a cost-benefit analysis between these two paths; but I will do my best to explain the difference using generalities. The beauty of getting your college degree is that it’s a once in a life time investment. Unless of course you are taking out loans then obviously you are making multiple payments, but that is beside the point. Like I have stated previously, even if you are continually making payments towards your degree is never going to go away. Whereas with these certifications you have to continually buy books and other study materials to stay relevant and up to date. Also one must continually pay to take these certification exams, and I’ll let you in on a little secret, the higher you go in the different branches of certifications the more expensive the tests become and some even require you to fly out to a different location to take the exam. So you better pass those tests the first time!

But Bradley, be straight with us, which path is best when it comes to landing that first job? Well that is a loaded question, and it is my hope that the reader recognizes that I tried to stay completely objective throughout the bulk of this article, but in my personal opinion…I had an absolute blast in college. I learned so much about myself and I met so many great people; and that is why I can say with absolute certainty that acquiring my college degree was right career move for ME. And that is just it! I cannot sit here and tell you which path is the best for YOU. Everyone has different hopes, dreams, goals, and aspirations and only you can possibly know which path will work best for you!  But listen to this… The longer I stay in the Networking Industry the more useless my Math degree will become, but it will continue to open doors for me and that is what I love about it! And I have to be honest, do I wish I was a Cisco Certified Networking Administrator currently? Of course I do, and I know I will get there some day; but I would not trade my college education for the world.

 As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns about Information Technology or where to acquire any of the certifications we talked about today please do not hesitate to give us a call at the office. We have quite a few degrees and quite a few certifications floating around the office and we would be happy to point you in the right direction.

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#Virtual-ception : All You Need To Know About VMware

 

In 2010 the world was mesmerized by Christopher Nolan’s Inception. This movie was so well received by the general public that shortly after its release “*insert noun here*- ception” became a prevalent phrase when referring to mind-blowing concepts that bend reality right before our very eyes. One of the more recent mind blowing “ceptions” is this notion of Virtual Computers.

Using software developed by a company called VMware, we are about to turn one physical server to numerous virtual computers that all run off this one physical computer’s hardware simultaneously. Though the technology to run multiple computers inside of one machine has actually been around for a while it is finally starting to gain some popularity in the realm of technology. But why?

  1. Virtual machines are cost efficient.

Put yourself in your boss’s shoes. If he needed 10 servers to run his company, do you think he would would rather use VMware’s technology to turn one beefy server into 10 smaller servers or would you rather buy 10 physical servers that are going to take up more floor space and jack up his energy bill?

Yeah, probably not… that’s what I thought.

vmware support virtual machine graphic
  1. Virtual computers give your IT guys less headaches.

By providing the best tools to the IT staff, you allow them to get the job done quickly with as few problems as trouble. The amount of time saved using virtual machines is hard to understate. This means they can dedicate their time to more pressing tasks while not worrying about small logistical problems that arise when they do not have virtual machines setup.

  1. Virtual computers can be moved in a blink of an eye.

My company, Guardian Computer, is based out of New Orleans, and during hurricane season a lot of our local clients always get nervous about downtime. In a VMware generated environment, our clients here in New Orleans have the ability to move these virtual computers all around the country using a pprocess known as VMotion. These VMotions are so fast that employees may not even realize they are working on a computer located thousands of miles away from their normal workstation.

A VMotion is not the only way we can move these virtual machines around. VMware has developed another notion known as High Availability that keeps a company’s virtual machines up and running even if one of their physical servers was to fail! For example, let say I were to trip over the power cord of a server in my office, and this particular server is hosting 10 virtual computers. Well, obviously without power these 10 virtual machines cannot operate, but luckily if I’m using High Availability, then VMwares software is smart enough to recognize that this host server has failed and it has the capability of turning on those virtual machines elsewhere with little

Well, obviously without power these 10 virtual machines cannot operate, but luckily if I’m using High Availability, then VMwares software is smart enough to recognize that this host server has failed and it has the capability of turning on those virtual machines elsewhere with little

Wrapping Up the Benefits of VMware

It is very easy to get lost in the realm of “virtual-ception”, but once you  wrap your mind around the idea I think you will be able to see just how AWESOME virtual computers can be. If you would like to learn more about virtual computers or VMware one of our technicians would be happy to answer any questions you may have about virtualizing your company’s servers!

Why Outsource Your Small Business’ IT Support?

The Biggest IT Support Question All Small Businesses Face: In-House or Outsource IT Staff

Every small business faces the tough choice of whether to hire their own IT staff or outsource the work to an outside IT consulting company. The immediate need for IT support often leads businesses to choose in-house options, but this is definitely not always the most cost-effective solution for small businesses who may not necessarily have enough work to justify a new hire. Even with an IT staff, there are some jobs that require a level of expertise from outside sources. That is where we come in!

For the past twenty years, Guardian has offered IT support to small businesses in New Orleans and beyond. One of our goals is to serve businesses with IT support that makes sense for their budget. Guardian works with the business owners of companies of all sizes to provide solutions to their specific needs. We offer different plans, managed services and hourly, to make sure the client gets the type of help they need to upkeep to manage all their technology needs.

The Benefits of  IT Support in New Orleans with Guardian Computer

1. Our Team Members Offer Expertise

Any small business hiring one or even two employees, they are intrinsically limited by the knowledge of those staff members. When you work with an IT support company like Guardian Computer, we send in an expert to address the problem. Our staff is constantly working to sharpen their expertise, and you are in the hands of someone who really knows (and loves) what they are doing. If we don’t know how to do it we will learn it or connect you with someone who can help.

2. The Cost

It is hard to compete with the rates of an IT consulting company versus hiring an employee because the structure of our company allows us to remain cost competitive. Even if you already have an employee hired on, chances are they cannot match the same skill set a large group of well-trained individuals can in this field. Our hourly rate and managed services cost way less than the cost of hiring an additional employee. If you want to know our rates, please feel free to give us a call at 504-457-0005 or shoot us an email at [email protected].

3. Who Wants to Waste Time on IT Issues 

These days it is not all uncommon to have at least one person in the office who is tech savvy person. While this skill may come in handy, time your employee spends on IT does not ultimately contribute to your bottom line. Hiring outside IT support allows you and/or your employees to focus more on your business.

4. You Will Get To Know Us

When working with a small It consulting companies like Guardian Computer, you will get to know the staff. Most businesses that stick with us a long time usually have a favorite employee that like to talk to when calling in for IT support. We also have our favorite clients although we’ll never tell who. Just because you are “outsourcing” doesn’t mean that the service is impersonal by any means.

Questions About Our IT Consulting Services Based Out of New Orleans?

If you have any inquiries as to our outsourcing your Small Business’ IT Support please feel free to reach out to us by giving us call at 504-457-0005 or shoot us an email at [email protected]. Our friendly staff will answer any questions you may have about how our IT support team can fit in with your small business.

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7 Steps to Recover Data from Water Damaged Hard Drives

Hard Drive Water Damage? Follow These Steps to Recover Your Data!

Whether you have experienced flooding or just had an “oops” moment where you spilled a glass of water on your hard drive, you need not dispair yet. There are steps you can take to help recover your wet hard drive.
Pictures often can be recovered from a wet hard drive if the drive is handled properly. Here are a few steps to maximize your chances of successful recovery.

1. Do not delay attending to the hard drive with water damage.

2. Do not attempt to plug in the hard drive.

3. Do not dry the hard drive with a blow dryer or the sun. Heat will damage the drive further.

4. Leave the protective covering on the drive. Airborne dust and particles will stick to the platters.

5. Gently rinse with clean cool water.

6. Do not let your brother-in-law touch it.

7. Mail the drive to a data recovery specialist. The best specialist only are capable of handling data recovery. Most local computer repair companies do not have the state-of-the-art equipment that will give you the best results. Contact us for a list of reputable recovery specialist.

We hope you to help you get the help you need to help recover the valuable data stored on your hard drive.