Email icon representing phishing attacks

Google Phishing Attacks Under Investigation

Google Docs Based Phishing Attacks

The phishing attack campaign used Google email addresses to target users by sending an email to share a document for collaboration. Once the targeted users accepted invitations, they were encouraged to login which allowed the phishing program access to their email accounts. Google has taken action to protect users, including removing the fake Google Docs pages and disabling the offending accounts.

Google Confirms the Attack

Initial reports say that Journalists were the main target for the Google Docs vulnerability, however, many different individuals working in many industries report receiving said emails. Google has confirmed it the phishing attacks through their own internal investigation and we are urging our partners to be vigilant for the time being. Here are some things you can do to safe:

  • Even if a sender is known pay close attention to what you might be clicking especially direct links.
  • When opening documents from an email, proceed with caution when opening compressed ZIP files.
  • Immediately report any and all suspicious emails to us.

Here is some information on how to prevent phishing attacks.

an IT consultant talks to a client

For Us, Step 1 Is IT Consulting

It’s the digital age. Every successful business has computers, servers, access to the Internet, and other electronic devices. But doing your own IT consulting and purchasing everything that looks useful without professional advice is never a good idea. This can lead to backtracking and decreased productivity.

The best advice our team at Preferred Technology Solutions has is to know all your options. Improper IT planning can cause endless amounts of harm for any business, no matter how big or small.

So, before you purchase the latest and greatest technology, make calling an IT Consultant step one in your process.

IT Consultants: Your Second Set of Eyes

Ever started a new project and wondered if there was a better way to do it? For the sake of time, you might carry on, only to realize you have wasted more time and money than you originally intended. While this is frustrating for personally enriching projects, such as building a new shed or alphabetizing your book collection, it most likely won’t lead to huge monetary losses.

IT is a different story, because what you put in place today will directly affect tomorrow. Think of IT solutions as always having a snowball effect, either good systems will be put in place and a company’s productivity will increase, or bad practices will slow everything.

As a basic example, perhaps your company is looking to protect against data loss by shifting everything to the Cloud. It’s as easy as paying for storage with any big-name company, transferring all your files, and going back to work, right? But when the end of the week rolls around and your graphics department is behind on work for the first time in your company’s history, you might begin to wonder what went wrong. Before jumping to conclusions, stop by their department and watch how long it takes to access large video and image files over the internet.

IT Consultants help like knowledgeable friends with a second set of eyes. They have the skills to get the job done and see the problem from a different point of view. By looking at things differently, you can avoid unexpected expenses and even have your personal expectations exceeded.

IT Consulting Always Considers Value

Time and money are both valuable to any company. The best IT consultants aren’t out to make you sacrifice more of one than the other. Think of them as someone who has already done all the experimenting for you. With over 22 years in IT consulting, our team at Preferred Technology Solutions can help.

Ready for a new perspective?

Guy frustrated with IT

Top 5 Signs You Need IT Consulting

The world is moving more quickly than ever, and somehow the business world is supposed to keep an even faster pace. This can make it difficult to make time for seemingly frivolous things like IT in our bustling economic landscape. That little pop-up box that springs onto your screen every week reminding you to update your laptop to that new operating system goes ignored for months because there’s simply no time to reboot when you need to get to work. We get it: technology, as wonderful as it is, is also easy to neglect. There are many warning signs that your business may be in desperate need of some IT consulting to get its tech back in the fast line, but here are five of the most common:

1.      Communications Break Down Too Often

Did you or one of your colleagues miss another important memo? Did you lose track of an email or important file in the cloud thanks to some odd hardware idiosyncrasy that happens a little more than it should? Communication is one of the most important factors in the success of businesses of any size, and with our increasing dependence on technology, communications breakdowns may be a symptom of struggling IT.

2.      Employees Avoid Technology

If you sit down at your desk every morning and dread dealing with workplace technology, there might be something wrong with your IT services. Whether it’s slow and clunky hardware that should have stayed in the 90s where it belonged or an unwieldy and ugly database or similar program, bad technology can ruin an otherwise fun day, week, or career. Working with IT consulting to create a digital environment that employees find intuitive and enjoyable is a great investment in the future of your business.

3.      Misplaced Data Hinders Productivity

If your workplace is still stuck in the days before cloud storage and real-time data backups, you’re missing out. Transferring data via email, thumb drive, or even paper copies is slow, faulty, and inefficient compared to newer and smoother methods. IT consulting can help your business set up cloud storage services and learn to work with cutting edge software that will get the most out of your collaborative environment.

4.      Your Hardware is Lagging Behind

Unless the nature of your work demands cutting edge hardware, it’s not necessary to have the very latest in hardware, but the machines you work with day in and day out do need to be able to handle the requirements of a modern business. If every desk is home to a computer that takes up half the desk and takes half an hour to start up on Monday mornings, it’s probably time to upgrade.

5.      You Have a Staff of Amateur Technicians

One of the telltale signs of a business that’s badly in need of IT consulting is an office where everyone is so intimately familiar with daily IT pitfalls that there’s “a guy” to call on for every situation that arises. Watching a team barely keep the office’s technology working is like watching sailors continually bail water out of a sinking ship.

If your business exhibits any combination of these signs, it’s probably time to talk to the IT consultants here at Preferred Technology Solutions and see what an investment in IT consulting can do for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Technical Support Specialist in a call center

How Does a Technical Support Specialist Think?

A technical support specialist is a professional providing assistance to end-users. They are known for helping people who are experiencing technical hardware or software issues, but they can also prevent problems from arising.

In addition to certain technical abilities required to be a technical support specialist, they also benefit from key, common personality traits. The combination of technical ability and these personality traits is what makes an ideal technical support specialist.

Individuals who take on the role of technical support specialist tend to have skill-sets that are focused on analysis and problem-solving. Excellent interpersonal skills help technical support staff conduct clear communication with business owners, other technical staff, and end-users.

Technical support specialists are also persistent problem-solvers. They will enjoy finding the best solutions based on a number of factors. Their focus will not only be on the technical capabilities of a firm, but on the goals of the business leaders.

Since technology is constantly changing and ways of working are evolving at a rapid pace, an ideal technical support specialist will be willing to adapt, and keen to learn from experience or training.

Self-discipline and organization skills are also required to see that all tasks are completed to the highest standards to prevent future issues.

Providing the Best Solution for Your Business

Technical support specialists perform a wide variety of tasks, including working with employees to solve and advise on computer issues, 1monitoring systems and analyzing data, logging records of specific queries, communicating with field engineers, and testing and repairing existing equipment. This requires a suite of skills.

In every case, the technical support specialist will not only get the job done, but they are self-motivated to find the best solution to any problem.

To solve the various issues that arise in the course of running a business, the technical support specialist will require patience and they’ll need to be goal-oriented. Whenever a client is satisfied, and their solutions address the business’s core aims, the goal of the technical support specialist is achieved.

Proactive Prevention of Issues and Sharing Results

Technical support specialists are in a position to not only eliminate problems but to spot inefficiencies and potential issues that, left unchecked, could cause downtime or loss of data.

When working with a technical support specialist, therefore, you will notice that they have keen observation skills and they will demonstrate great attention to detail. You can also expect to see a high-level of initiative.

In addition to being able to foresee and prevent issues developing into significant problems, technical support specialists will demonstrate a willingness to share their knowledge. With an ability to communicate their observations and their actions with those concerned, they are team-players, keeping everyone up to speed and – when necessary or desired – involved in technical aspects of the business.

A technical support specialist, therefore, can work individually but is also a team player, flexible enough to work in any manner that benefits the business and helps it to achieve its goals.

Trust the Technical Support Specialists at Preferred

The technical support specialist team is a key aspect of a business’s productivity, security, and its ability to grow. They carry a huge responsibility. As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, customer satisfaction is likewise increasingly dependent on smooth-running IT that is monitored and optimized by experienced support teams.

One of the most important things to know about this individual is that he or she is not just a member of IT staff, but a highly-skilled professional dedicated to making your business safer, more reliable, and more productive, while giving you more free time to focus on what’s important to you. Let’s talk about how we can help you.

A technical support specialist on the phone

What’s Special About a Technical Support Specialist?

There’s nothing like downtime or business disruption to highlight the qualities of a great technical support specialist! With the best technical support specialist, however, you should be able to avoid this eventuality.

One of the overlooked benefits of working regularly with technical support specialists is that they can deal with technical issues pro-actively, preventing any loss of productivity or service.

And when it comes to streamlining or growing your business, nobody is in a better position to determine whether particular software or hardware is right for your business needs, because technical support specialists are up-to-speed with the latest software or hardware on the market.

Technical Support Specialist Skills and Responsibilities

Technical support specialists deal with computer systems, software applications, and electronic systems.

  • They are skilled at educating people and answering questions, while providing support by resolving issues regarding IT products and services.
  • To assist end-users, technical support specialists ask a variety of questions to fully understand issues. Among the best virtues of a technical support specialist, therefore, are listening and communication skills.
  • You should also be able to count on their patience when feeling frustrated or stressed due to pre-existing IT issues!
  • Part of their responsibilities includes testing the company’s equipment on an on-going basis. They will also test new software or hardware, and provide feedback.
  • Sometimes they will arrange training sessions to introduce a new system or product to staff.

Why Every Company Needs a Technical Support Specialist

Nowadays, all businesses use technology to some extent. For many businesses, success relies upon technology. If hardware, software, or data is damaged, a business can take a significant hit to its productivity, its reputation, and its bottom line.

The best way to protect your business from downtime and data loss is by using the services of technical support specialists. They know how to handle any IT problem, whether it’s an ongoing issue or an emergency.

Taking a holistic view of your business, they can ensure that any solutions they provide are in the interest of achieving your business’s goals, not just maintaining its technical infrastructure.

The technical support specialist will also see that the technology you use can scale with your company. Wouldn’t it be great if your company attracted a huge, new client? How about ten new clients? Maybe your teams could adjust to an increased workload, but what about your technology?

It’s frustrating – not to mention bad for business – to see higher demand for your products or services, only to discover that you lack the technology to deliver. Avoid this by having a well-prepared technical support specialist (or a team!) on hand. Since they are familiar with your system, they will be able to adjust your technology where necessary and can provide the necessary business support.

Note also, that these specialists are often available 24/7/365. Servers and other essential technology can go down at any time, including in the middle of the night or during holidays. Serious problems of this kind must be dealt with immediately so business can continue without disruption.

Preferred Technology Solutions is Staffed with Technical Support Specialists

Having an outstanding team of technical support specialists can speed up your desired rate of growth. Keeping your technology on track means keeping your customers happy, which clears your road to business success. Let’s talk about how we can help you to get where you want to be.

IT Managed Services

3 Things to Look for in an IT Managed Services Provider

 

Managed services providers (MSPs) have become key players in today’s IT strategies for businesses of any size. Offering a variety of services from network monitoring to the hardware itself, IT managed services support organizations by offering centralized expertise, processes and tools to make everything run as smoothly as possible.

With so many vendors claiming to be the best in the field, finding the right MSP for your business can be confusing and overwhelming. How do you choose who will best help your organization thrive?

Reliability is Key

 

When shopping for IT managed services, response time and availability should be at the top of your list. Technical difficulties can bring your business operations to a grinding halt. How long can your systems afford to be down? Around the clock availability is crucial to feeling like your MSP really has your back when things break down. An MSP that struggles with expedient customer support can quickly go under, taking you with them.

When Push Comes to Shove

 

When emergencies strike, and they will, data storage can be the one saving grace of an important project or vital business documents. Cloud storage and automatic backups on a remote server are incredibly important for the longevity of your business when IT hiccups happen. A good IT managed services provider will also help your business develop a plan for when disasters like severe outages, dangerous weather, or even vandalism strike. A disaster recovery plan helps your organization get back on it’s feet when worse comes to worst. It’s important to know how your MSP plans to help you recover when business is disrupted.

IT Managed Services Providers are Always Evolving

 

One of the main advantages of an arrangement with an IT managed services provider is the access you have to their specific skill set. This can provide you with people who can solve any IT problem your business may encounter. A good MSP will invest in their employees’ knowledge by furthering their knowledge and certifications. Look for companies who strive to be cutting edge in their approach to offering advanced services. An MSP devoted to evolving means that when the technological landscape changes, your MSP (and your business) can evolve and adapt with it.

Seeking these qualities in an MSP can help you sift through options to find the best match for your business. Customer support, business continuity, and continuous growth are key elements to look for in a partner that you’ll heavily rely on. Talk to Preferred, and we’ll discuss moving forward to solidify that very type of partnership. 

Business people making a deal

How to know if you’re getting adequate IT Managed Services

With more and more businesses depending on technology, the need for MSPs is steadily increasing. How do you know that you’re getting adequate IT managed services though? Well, let’s start by defining exactly what that means.

What are Managed Services?

Managed services means you have a variety of IT support available to you at a flat rate. Any size business can benefit from this, and these services are renewed on a subscription basis. The great thing about this billing method is that budgeting becomes simpler. Businesses also never have to worry about surprise bills.

Proactive Support

So, what kind of support is provided? IT managed services offers proactive support. This means there is a software that scans your system/server/computer/overall infrastructure 24/7/365 for any potential danger. This is much more beneficial than reacting after the damage has been done. Why? Well, firstly, if you can detect a problem beforehand and fix it remotely. This will save you the money and trouble of rolling engineers and technicians to come to your location. It will also save you any downtime. Nothing halts business more than a technology crash that prevents your employees from working.

Another benefit of this approach is that it gives you tremendous peace of mind. By knowing that your technological problems are taken care of, you can relax and focus on your business. Proactive support is also very efficient. It works by recognizing the issues first, then escalating the bigger ones to high-skilled resources. This allows for a fluid system where resolution can be achieved quickly. It also allows for the addressing of multiple problems simultaneously. And, if you ever have any questions, a help desk will always be available to you.

Preferred Technology Solutions excels in this by staffing the highest certified engineers to man the front lines. This way, clients can get the answers they need immediately the first time they call in. Customer experience is always the #1 priority.

Types of IT Services

Depending on the MSP, the types of services that can be included in a IT managed services vary. The offering can include, but isn’t limited to, disaster recovery, system monitoring and alerts, cloud services, hosted VoIP, help desk services, network infrastructure and upgrades, security, mobility, and much more. Preferred Technology Solutions also offers wireless installations, which makes them unique from their competitors. We will work with you to make sure your business is getting the solutions it needs.

What are you waiting for?

If you like what you’ve been reading so far, get in touch and we’ll take care of you. We keep our successful business up and running by preventing IT issues, so we’re pretty good at what we do! Our technology has been developed from experts, so we know how to provide more than adequate managed services. We’ll offer you that peace of mind you’ve been craving.

unified communications

The Numbers Behind Workflow and Efficiency Improves with Unified Communications

Meeting client needs while maintaining IT budgets and staffing expenses is a balancing act every company performs. Businesses small and large are feeling the strain to do less with more, and unified communications is one way to help you bridge the gap.

Unified communications is the bundling of all of your communication services into one application. This combines video calling, instant messaging, phone calls, and email all into one system accessible across many devices.

Flexible and Fast

Unified communications allows employees to use communication systems concurrently instead of having several applications running at once. This increases productivity by cutting down on time wasted and duplicated efforts to communicate with other members of the team.

Because all of the systems are in one place, fewer items will fall through the cracks. Employees will be able to stay on top of emails, messages, and phone calls because they won’t have to be cycling through multiple platforms to be sure they’ve seen every notification. This reduces inaccuracies and boosts productivity and quality of communication within your business.

Mobile Connectivity

Not only does unified communications increase individual productivity, but it also boosts team productivity. Your employees can collaborate in real-time because they’re all using the same applications. Impromptu video conferencing can connect employees who are working remotely with those in the office without juggling schedules and appointments.

Easier sync ups like this will allow your team to communicate quicker and more effectively, which means that finished work will be of better quality and completed faster.

Tracking Employee Communication Methods

Some unified communications come with a tracking feature that monitors how employees communicate and through which features. Management can assess and understand the most effective way to communicate with their employees. Improved communication can benefit team relations and create a better sense of community.

At Preferred Technology Solutions, we can help companies just like yours integrate a unified communications solution to help you streamline and enhance communication and productivity with ease. Simply give us a call to get started.

Vacation workflow with unified communications

Workflow with Boundaries with Unified Communications

Do you work to live, or live to work? Granted, there are some people in the world who simply adore what they do – so much so that they choose to do more work in their off time as a hobby. But if you’re like most people – while you enjoy putting in a full day’s work and boosting your company’s productivity, you still enjoy being able to go “off the clock” and just be you. Unified Communications can help you set some workflow boundaries to allow you to go “off the clock,” plus give you a whole lot more while you are working.

Indicate How and When You Can Be Reached

Unified Communications allows your digital phone, instant messaging, conferencing, and email all to work together. That’s a lot of mediums in which people can get ahold of you! Suppose you’re on your lunch break with a member of your family. How special will your lunch together be if you’re constantly being called? Unified Communications allows you to immediately select which medium people may get in touch with you. So, you could select “instant messaging,” put your phone on silent, and check your messages periodically to ensure there are no emergencies back at the office.

Temporarily Remove Your Availability

Let’s take it a step further: say you took the week off for a vacation. You’re sitting in a restaurant having brunch, and your phone chirps: it’s one of your customers with a question. With unified communications, you can remove your availability – effectively sending everyone to voicemail and putting messages in your queue until you’re ready to look at them. You can also send all messages to a designated voice or text message which informs them of your unavailability, and whom they can reach out to in your absence. And if you’re so inclined, you can always check messages later or even change your availability at a moment’s notice.

Preferred Technology Solutions Will Set Your Workflow Boundaries

Enjoy time for yourself. After all, we work to make life better. How can it be better if we don’t have any personal time? Preferred Technology Solutions will help you to set the boundaries you and your team need in their lives, and show you all the ways your entire office will benefit from integrating unified communications into your workflow.  Talk to us about it. We know you’ll be happy with what you learn.

video conference software

Expand Your Market World-Wide with Video Conference Software

Face-to-face communication is a crucial instrument to the business world. With the ever-increasing globalization of markets, in-person meetings may become more and more difficult, impractical, or even impossible to conduct between your business and your customers.

Video conference software has become a vital tool to help visually connect with people inside and outside of your company, or on the other side of the world, with user-friendly and dependable software that can be used across work stations, conference rooms, and mobile devices.

Connecting People and Improving Relationships

The key benefit of video conferencing is the ability to hold virtual meetings. This allows for anyone to communicate easily with each other from any location. Unlike traditional teleconferences, video conference fosters a more personal connection between the people talking.

When video is incorporated into a conversation, participants are more likely to stay focused and be more involved in the conversation. Video conference software can help to build rapport and improve relationships between participants. Most communication is nonverbal, and video conferencing allows for subtle things, like facial expressions and body language, to be capitalized on. These nonverbal cues would normally be missed on a traditional conference call, but video conferencing allows for interpersonal communication to be much more personal and familiar as well as effective and clear.

Reduce Costs and Save Time

While video conference software can strengthen relationships in and outside of your company, it can also help your business save time and money as well as help the environment.

Hosting virtual meetings cuts down drastically on the need for travel expenses to bring people together face-to-face. Less money spent on airfare, car rentals, and other travel-related expenditures can be a huge benefit to your business.

While you’re saving costs from travel, you’re also saving the time spent on flights, at the airport, and in hotels onsite. Video conferences can also save time by allowing team members to work more efficiently and make decisions faster and more effectively.

Reduced travel is a benefit of implementing video conference software that has an effect that is not always considered: sparing the environment. Whenever you avoid driving a car or catching a flight, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and helping to preserve natural resources.

Video conferencing is an excellent tool that allows your team to communicate more effectively while saving your business money and helping protect the planet. To find out the best video conference solution for your business, give Preferred Technology Solutions a shout today.