At this point in the 21st century, “What is the Wi-Fi password,” is an instinctual phrase for kids of all ages. And let’s be honest, most of you adults also have acquired this learned behavior as well. The real question is though, does either party know what is at stake while they surf the web on public Wi-Fi?

Whether you are checking in on the latest Trump versus Hillary debate or getting lost in the vast world of YouTube, we all need to take these necessary precautions to ensure that our devices and personal information are safe when we sync our devices to a foreign network.

1. Whose Wi-Fi Am I About To Use?

Always be suspicious of which network you connect to in public places. It would take minimal effort for a hacker to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot outside of a local coffee shop with a network name like “FreeCoffeeShopWifi”. This actually happens all of the time! Hackers do this to trick innocent bystanders into joining their network.

If you get lured into joining a hacker’s network like this, then you have essentially left a key under the mat for the hacker so that they may let themselves into all of your personal data! With that being said, always make sure to as an employee of the establishment for the Wi-fi Name to make sure you connect to a safe network.

2. NEVER, EVER Perform Any type of Banking or Personal Transaction Away From Home

Stick to looking up the latest meme or catching up on the news while using public Wi-Fi; your bank account will thank me later. Even a seemingly innocuous banking transaction, like transferring money from your savings account to your debit card, can lead to a hacker infiltrating your account.

3. Stay On Recognizable Websites

Preferably you should stick to what IT nerds call the surface level of the web, i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo, etc. You know, the websites almost anyone with an internet connection can identify.  By taking these precautions, it makes it difficult for someone to intercept any data you send out or receive.

If you insist on exploring beyond the basics, makes sure to just visit secure websites and applications. When using your laptops on a public network always look for the HTTPS:// line rather than just HTPP:// to confirm you’ve established a secure connection.

4. Turn Off File Sharing

Turning off file sharing will only take a minute and it could potentially save you a lifetime worth of problems. Below is a guide.

For Windows users, we can find this option by opening the Control Panel and making our way to the Network and Sharing Center. From there, we want to Change Advanced Sharing Settings and Turn Off File Sharing.

For Mac users, we want to find our Systems Preferences on our toolbar and be sure to uncheck the box next to File Sharing

5. What If I Want To Work On a Public Network? Is My Data Safe?

In short, the answer is:  NO, your data is not safe!

The good news for you is that this does not have to be the case, there are numerous ways to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that the data being shared between you and your work is encrypted in case a hacker decides to make you his next victim!

Without the encryption key, it is going to make it challenging for the hacker to make any sense of the data he intercepts from your device thus leaving you and your company files protected. Unfortunately, these types of networks are not always ready, but if you would like to look into getting one of these virtual connections set up one of our Guardian Computer Networking Consultants would be we would happy to help you and your company stay protected!

Ask a New Orleans Tech Conclusion: Public Wi-Fi Is Definitely NOT Safe

The internet is a wonderful place, and it is amazing that we have access to the internet on every street corner. Unfortunately, this ability to access the internet so easily is exactly what makes everyone so vulnerable to cyber-attacks! If we keep these ideas in mind on our next trip to the local coffee shop, I promise you will be able to enjoy that mocha frappuccino much more knowing that your personal data is not being exposed. Please be safe, and always keep your head on a swivel when you are out there on the world wide web!

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.

disaster recovery plans matthew hurricane model

As we watch Hurricane Matthew make landfall, we are sending out our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by the storm. As New Orleans citizens, we empathize with the damage storms like Matthew have on communities.

By the way, for those of you in our area not vigilantly tracking the storm, there is a small chance it may, for a better lack of a meteorological term, do a loopty-loop back in our direction. We are not in the clear yet so keep an eye on your preferred weather channel.

No matter where you are, but especially in hurricane and flood-prone areas, it is a good idea to have a disaster recovery plan in place to protect your data. We have years of experience creating comprehensive virus protection and disaster recovery systems. We’ll also back up all your mission-critical data off-site for safekeeping.

Businesses of every size need a plan to protect their electronic information. Often, companies do not come up with any such plan until after disaster strikes which is not the ideal way to do things. We much prefer it when clients take steps before they’ve lost data which is critical to the continued operations of their business.

Give us a call at 504-457-0005 if you or anyone you know needs to make a plan to protect data from Matthew or other potential disasters. We can get you on the right track with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for your IT infrastructure fast.

Most importantly: everyone stay safe out there!