02 Nov 2017

Keep Your Personal Information Protected – Change Your Passwords

We have passwords for everything – our computers and cell phones, our garages, and, for some of us who can’t control our snacking habits, even our refrigerators are password protected. Many services that you use such as email, online banking, and your apps for shopping will automatically prompt you to reset your password with a new one; but how often should you really be changing your passwords to keep your information protected?

Personal vs. Shared-Device Passwords:

First thing’s first: we all know that we have the same password, or a variation of it, for everything we use. Of course, that’s the easiest way to keep yourself from having to send your forgotten password to your email, which you’ll then have to sign into, and change your password yet again. While it saves time and energy to have the same password for all of your logins, it’s never a good idea to use your personal passwords for shared computers.

This isn’t to say that you have a malicious coworker (which, you might) who would sign into your personal accounts using the password from your work computer, but, as the saying goes, it’s always good to keep your work life and personal life separate. The same goes for your work and personal passwords.

What Passwords Should I Be Changing?

The sweet and simple answer is: all of them. If you want your information to have maximum protection, you’ll need to periodically change your passwords to ensure that you don’t get hacked. If you made an email account specifically to get your fourth free trial of your favorite online radio streaming service, no need to go back and change that password. But it’s safe to say that the more you use a particular website, email address, or online service, the more you should be changing your passwords.

How Frequently Should I Change Them?

The current, most common recommendation for changing your password is once every 90 days, but do you really need to be changing your passwords that often? For your most important accounts that need the most protection, like your online banking account, you’ll want to change your password at least once every 90 days, if not more frequently. And that doesn’t mean you can be lazy and change your password from “password1” to “password2” – if you really want to maximize your protection, you’ll have to get more creative than that. Something as simple as adding an “e” or “b” to signify that it’s your email or bank password will be a reminder for you and a head-scratcher for a hacker. For other passwords, such as your social media profile or movie-streaming account, you can wait as long as a year to change your password (or longer, if you really feel that daring).

Tips for Changing Your Password:

Though it’s a little extra hassle, keep a list of all of your passwords somewhere safe – and not on your computer. Have a hard copy of your passwords tucked away in your desk or on a thumb drive so that they’re easily accessible to you, but not to your potential hackers. Keeping all of your passwords similar, but not exactly the same, can also help when it comes to trying to remember what exactly you chose a few months ago. If you find yourself forgetting whether or not you’ve changed your password, set a schedule to change all passwords at the same time so that you never have to search through the depths of your memory to figure out what password you used when you signed up for your account in 2009.

Just like wearing a seatbelt, passwords can be annoying to remember but are there for your protection. Don’t get caught with your proverbial pants down and leave your personal or professional information up for grabs.

24 Dec 2016

Don’t let your IT team sweep the floors!


business, people, cloud computing and technology concept - smiling business team with smartphones, tablet pc computers working in office
Are your IT people sweeping floors?

I want to explain how you can help your IT Department succeed and dispel the myths and fears about IT outsourcing services. Efficient allocation of resources is something that we contend with every day.

Where can we get the greatest return on our investment from our trucks, warehouse, office space and our people. Well IT is no different.

Your internal IT staff has value as a technical resource but more importantly as a business resource. Yet, we see IT staff performing tasks equivalent to sweeping the floors, that’s an expensive janitor.

And, this no knock on them, it’s how the resource is utilized. If your IT services person is busy cleaning up viruses, doing PC maintenance, fixing printers, and doing network cabling, they are being under-utilized.

This is where the right IT outsourcing services can come into play for your business. Your IT person’s efforts should be centered on tasks that make the business more money or drive efficiency. Utilize them for the IT business consulting needs or enterprise IT support needs. Have them work on IT business project services that better connect you to your clients, instead of maintenance of your servers and IT network support.

You may want to look towards IT for better ways to market your products and services instead of low ROI IT support network and IT help desk needs. Blogs, social media, and e-commerce are all IT project services and IT management services that require IT business consulting and expertise that your internal IT team can help with. Better that then having them replacing old hardware, fixing computers, or cleaning viruses.

Asking your IT services consultant to kill viruses is asking them to kill their time. A fear of IT outsourcing is a fear of losing control. However the opposite is true. A good IT outsourcing services company will give your business more information, better remote access and better IT network security.

An IT outsourcing services solution for your business, needs to have a proactive network services platform. Their network support and business IT support should include a help desk, network operating center, on site support, and a good IT cloud services solution.

For information on Chicago IT outsourcing services email

20 Dec 2016

The benefits of an IT Health Assessment

Have you ever had your IT systems assessed?

IT serviIT Risk Managers - IT Consulting Firm in Chicago, ILces and delivery processes are not the first thing you think about each year as the business requires more and more with less budget. However a good check and balance to see where IT is at is through an Information Technology audit & health assessment. Think of it this way, your CFO probably has the financials audited all of the time.

Is it because he is unsure of himself? Probably not! For leadership it’s just good practice. What they are trying to avoid is a surprise. So why is IT any different? You can easily argue IT can be even more critical then day to day financials.

IT Services and delivery is the same thing, a surprise in IT can shut down the whole company and who will they look at IT Leadership. When was the last time you had a security or best practices assessment of the IT systems, services, consultants and processes.

Our most secure and efficient clients and the ones who have this performed annually. Once completed, the results can be a framework to improve your IT Services model and management will appreciate your  pro-active approach.

A network benchmark assessment from a 3rd party IT Consulting firm is the best way to get you the information you need to keep your department informed and eliminate surprises.

For further information on IT services and security audits email

16 Dec 2016

Office 365 is the way to go for small & medium businesses!

Office 365 the right solution for small & medium businesses!

Office 365 is Microsoft’s next generation of cloud based services. The Office 365 solution allows organizations to utilize the Microsoft products they all rely on, Exchange, Sharepoint, Lnyc, and Office Professional without the investment burden needed to implement and maintain them.

For example, an exchange deployment at the minimum requires a server, exchange licensing, a Microsoft active directory environment, email spam filtering, and virus protection.

Also you need the manpower to install the platform. There is also a stack of time required to maintain the system ie; the licensing, making sure the server is functioning and updated, dealing with network and communication issues, keeping the virus protection updated, and having the data backed up.

My point is; if you are a business or IT leader it does not make sense to have your IT staff tied up in providing a “cost of doing business” activity. Making sure your email is functioning is something that needs to be done, however it will not give your company competitive advantage, it’s just a “cost of doing business”.

Finally, when you look at the time your IT staff spends dealing with a maintenance activity imagine if your staff was doing a task that directly relates to producing  your company more revenue, like improving client communications, improving business processes or helping improve your business software implementation.

As a business owner who has recently installed Office 365 for our own environment, I can say we are genuinely happy with Office 365.

Below are some of our findings:

Office 365 was easy to use. With some proper pre-deployment planning we were able to migrate all of our important data, calendars, and folders fairly easily. We were also able to give our employees access to the platform applications via iPhones, iPads, desktops, laptops, and from any location, home, office, on the road.

We also have the same features and functions we had when we managed our own Microsoft applications.

Finally, the platform has been reliable, we had a few minor issues in the beginning, opened up a ticket, and Microsoft resolved the issues.

As far as the cost, Microsoft is offering a pay as you go model, at about $5.00 to $7.00 per user, per month. And when you take all things into consideration, reliability, scalability, ROI, it seems very fair.

Fortunately owning an IT company, I leveraged my IT experts who helped me with planning and deploying the Office 365 plan.

Hiring a Microsoft partner to help you plan and enable the Office 365 cutover makes sense, and the price is the same, with or without a partner. For more info email

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