Category Archives: Featured

Password Management: Top 3 Password Tools to Help Protect You Online

Most of us spend at least half of our waking hours using online tools, whether for business or personal use, making it crucial to protect our accounts from hackers. You might think no one would ever be interested in your email or small business’s records, but you’d be surprised. Having your account hacked can end up being both disturbing and a mess for you and anyone in your contact list. So, do everyone a favor and take preemptive measures to secure your online identity. One of the easiest, most reliable approaches is through password management.

Take a look at these three password tools that are easy to use and effective:

1Password13334048894_6e8b421c4e_o

Available for every different device and as an extension across several major platforms, 1Password boasts simplicity and impenetrability. It generates unique, impregnable passwords for every application, service, and site you use. If you’re not sure which passwords need revamping, use 1Password’s security audit, which will review all of your passwords and evaluate them on their strength.

Plus, 1Password saves all your sign-in information behind a single master password, so you don’t have to recall any information whenever you want to log into an account. As a bonus, you can keep other data in 1Password’s secure information vault, such as credit card numbers and addresses, saving you loads of time.

1Password has a number of useful features, such as multiple vaults. If you’re working on a project or need to share select information with others, 1Password gives you the option of creating additional, shareable vaults that can be organized in whatever way works best for you. These vaults are automatically and instantly synched over wifi, iCloud, or Dropbox.

To purchase a 1Password license, visit its creator’s website, agilebits.com.

LastPass15921569186_8560f34c02_o

LastPass is another password management tool that creates mind-numbingly complex passwords for all of your accounts, across every different platform. According to its website, 73% of people use the same password for a number of sites, a majority of passwords only contain six characters, and a majority of passwords only take three minutes to hack.

LastPass saves all of your information behind one master password and then fills it in for you as you need it. It allows you to create multiple passwords within its program, so that every member of your team or family can have access to his/her own information.

The tool also enables you to store a great deal of confidential information — such as licenses, passports, images, documents, wifi information, and so on — as attachments to secure notes. Basically, you have the important information you need at your disposal (but not at anyone else’s).

As an added benefit, LastPass sends you security email alerts as soon as the online sites and services you use have been hacked so that you can be vigilant about changing your passwords.

Download one of their programs — free, premium, or enterprise — at lastpass.com.

KeePasssecurity-265130_640

Keepass is a free, open-source alternative to standard password management. Supporting both Advanced Encryption Standard and Twofish algorithms, Keepass encrypts all of your account information — from usernames to notes to addresses to passwords. Advanced Encryption Standard is so secure that it’s been approved by the National Security Alliance for use with top secret information.

All of the encrypted data is either protected behind one master password, a key file, or both. Key files are often regarded as a more secure way to guard your information and can be stored on an external device, such as a USB key, that you can carry around with you — just don’t lose it!

Keepass doesn’t require installation and works best on Windows operating systems. However, if you download Mono (software), it will also run on Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, and other systems.

To download Keepass for free, go to keepass.info.

If you think your dog’s name or favorite color is enough to bar the way between access to your accounts and a hacker, you might want to think a little harder about the consequences of having your information stolen. It’s easy to protect yourself with these simple, yet effective, password tools — all it takes is a few minutes to set them up. Once you do, you can rest easier knowing that your data is secure from even the most clever hackers.

 

Does Your Business Need a Server? 3 Reasons Your Business Should Upgrade (or not) to Getting an In-House Server

It is more common than ever for offices — especially for larger companies — to possess two different types of computers: a computer on which individuals perform their daily tasks and one centralized computer that stores the resources all other computers on the network can access. The second type of computer is known as a server, and its function is to hold the information that’s on all of the computers, allow and deny access of various files to appropriate parties, as well as to provide a high level of security for the company’s information. While servers are regarded as a must for most businesses, does yours need one? If you think it does, is an in-house server the way to go?

Consider these three reasons as to why you should or shouldn’t upgrade to an in-house server:

1.     The Expense of In-House Serverskeyboard-254582_640

Servers can be costly, depending on which you decide to go with. It’s no secret that larger companies are more likely to have in-house servers than smaller ones. In-house servers often mean investing in expensive equipment and upgrades, as well as office space to store the server. Professionals generally need to be called in to maintain the equipment, or if your business has an IT department, problematic servers can monopolize valuable time best spent on other projects. For this reason, many companies are switching over to Cloud-based servers, which don’t require any physical equipment, but rather just payment for a service subscription. Plus, employers with a number of telecommuters also appreciate the ease with which their employees can access all materials from wherever they are, as long as there’s an established online connection.

2.     How Much Control Do You Want?iphone-macbook-air-man-162

When your server is located in-house, you have complete control over it. While Cloud-based services are known for being secure, some businesses may feel more comfortable having their server in a place they can physically access and safeguard in a way that makes the most sense for their company (there are a few ways to go about this).

3.     Dealing with Crashes and Downtime5528275910_8a11c076d8_o

We’ve all been through it: You’re working on a document, and the computer freezes. You go to restart it, and it shuts off but doesn’t turn on again. You take it in to be repaired, and hope and pray for a good outcome. Alas, all of your documents, including the one you were just working on, are gone forever. What a nightmare. One of the central ideas behind having a server is that all of your saved documents are backed up, all of the time. Thus, when your computer goes down, all hope is not lost.

At iSupportU, our team often recommends clients adopt a cloud-based approach. However, in cases where in-house servers are more fitting, we highly recommend working with such systems as a Network Attached Storage Device (NAS), Windows, and Mac OS X servers, which are simple and easily customizable. Either way, though, having a server is likely to save you both headache and heartache in the long run, even if you’re the only person accessing it. It will safeguard your files, making sharing easier across devices, and securely store information for the whole company. If you’re not sure whether a server — or which server — is suitable for your company, contact iSupportU. We’re here to help!

Get to Know Your IT Support: 4 Reasons You Should Hire iSupportU in Boulder

If you’ve worked with an IT Support company in the past, chances are that pieces of the following scenarios will sound familiar to you:

Scenario A) You call your IT tech support in a panic when your system goes down, you are rerouted to a different country, and you are given complicated explanations that fly over your head before you finally throw up your hands and say something to the effect of, “Okay, well, can you just fix it so I can get on with my life?”

Scenario B) You call your IT tech support and have the line answered by a machine. The machine reads you all the options you can select, but none of those options align with your needs. Everyone in your office is panicking because your email is down, and so you just start pressing buttons on your phone, hoping one of them will connect you with a live person. Somehow, that strategy works, and a human finally picks up the phone! You tell them what happened, and they say that you reached the wrong department. You’re put on hold while they transfer you…

Scenario C) Your IT support only works through tickets, which you have to submit online. You go onto their website and follow the example posted, spend time composing it, hit submit, then wait. After what feels like eternity — because running your business depends on your computers functioning properly — you receive a curt and unhelpful response to the ticket you submitted. You scour the website for a phone number and finally have to submit another ticket asking to be called. You then wait for 24 hours to be called and they ask you what’s the issue.

Be in Control of Your IT Support with iSupportU

These things don’t happen with iSupportU because we are like no other Business IT Support and Consulting company. We pride ourselves on being personable, accessible, proactive, and prominent members of the Boulder and Denver communities.

If you’re tired of battling it out with your average IT company, here are four good reasons why you should choose iSupportU:

  1.     Whereas the attitude of most other IT companies is impersonal at best, and downright rude and condescending at the worst, iSupportU regards itself as people-centric. We believe that to form successful, lasting relationships, it’s important to get to know our clients, your business, and how we can be your best ally. After all, if we don’t understand what you need and the direction in which you want to grow your company, how can we intuitively support you? For this reason, iSupportU doesn’t offer a standard business plan for our clients. We know that the key factor in being a successful company is that you’re different from the rest. So a one-size-fits-all plan would never work. The first thing we do when working with you, as a new client, is to sit down with you for a free consultation. We assess your business goals and the issues you typically face with your current systems, and we decide together whether we’d be a good fit.
  2.     When you choose to work with iSupportU, you won’t feel alone when technical difficulties come up. No more spending hours on the phone or sitting in front of your computer, waiting for someone to respond to you when it’s convenient for them. Because we’re local and people-centric, we’re there for you when you have a problem. If there’s an issue, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call us at (303) 895-2222.
    Further, when you need our help, we want you to understand what we’re saying, so that you feel included on the process and can even quickly and effectively fix the problem on your own, should it happen again.
  3.     When working with iSupportU, you might not ever find yourself calling our support line in a panic. Part of what makes us stand out from other IT Business and Consulting companies is that we are huge proponents of preventive care. Just like when it comes to your personal health, it’s important to address any potential issues or technical problems with your business systems before or when they first arise — this will keep them from growing and causing other, more severe problems. If a business is interested, we schedule an IT support technician to visit your office once a week or month. When you can’t afford to have your own IT department, regular on-site upkeep is the next best thing.
  4.     iSupportU isn’t just local; we’re locally conscientious. This means we take care of our community in ways that extend far beyond IT services. E-waste — waste from electronics and technological devices — has become a gigantic nightmare for third-world countries. Wetlands, parks, rivers, forests — you name it — have been transformed into toxic dumping grounds for the discarded e-waste of more prosperous nations. iSupportU not only refuses to be party to this egregious lack of responsibility, but we have teamed up with Magic Recycling to ensure responsible recycling of e-waste. The processing is done in the US and most of it is done right here in Colorado. The iSupportU team supports a green lifestyle and office environment — we love our bikes and support the local non-profit CarShare, and our focus on cloud-based solutions means we don’t require an overwhelming amount of energy to power in-house servers. We even participate in zero-waste programs and use LED office lighting.

At iSupportU, all of our energy goes into how we can best serve our clients and our community. When you hire us, you’ll be working with a tightly knit team of sharp, intuitive, and friendly technicians, who are excited about what they do and the businesses they work with. We love our clients, and they love us. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

iPhone 6

“One More Thing” – A Recap of Apple’s Live Reveal

If you didn’t have a chance to keep up with the tweets and live streaming earlier this week of Tim Cook’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus Apple Pay and Apple Watch reveal, we’ve compiled a few key points worth noting. Here are the highlights of the next big things in tech right now:

iPhone 6

4.7” screen // 16 GB iPhone 6: $199: (on sale 9/19)iphone 6 and iphone 6 plus

  • 8 MP rear camera and an updated 2.1 MP front camera – that’s up to 240 frames per second.
  • Available in gold, white and “space gray”

iPhone 6 Plus

5.5” screen // 64 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $299 & 128 GB iPhone 6 Plus: $399 (on sale 9/19)

  • Apple’s new A8 processor
  • Retina HD screen with a 1920 x 1080p resolution
  • 8 MP rear camera and an updated 2.1 MP front camera – that’s up to 240 frames per second.
  • Available in gold, white and “space gray”

Apple Pay

Available in October

  • Apple PayiPhone 6 and 6 Plus users will be able to scan their credit cards using the Passbook App by creating a unique code stored in your device
  • Compatible with Visa, Mastercard or AMEX
  • Can be used at 200,000 + supported merchants – basically all you have to do is take our your phone and place it within the merchant sensors reach (the same way your scan your groceries at self checkout.)
  • Security + Privacy- no personal information on your purchases or billing info is collected by Apple or merchants

Apple Watch aka “One More Thing” aka NOT the iWatch

$349, Available in 2015

  • Navigation – touch screen and a “digital crown” wheel on the side of the watch – allowing for simple, precise adjustments and movements throughout the device
  • Hardware – Flexible and durable touch screen to allow for “hard press”
  • WatchKit – platform dedicated to the development of Apple Watch compatible apps
  • Customizable – 6 stylish interchangeable bands
  • The full collection details:
    • Apple Watch: stainless steel and space black stainless steel cases, sapphire crystal display collection,band choices include leather bands, a link bracelet, a Milanese loop, and a band made from high-performance fluoroelastomer
    • Apple Watch Sport: a light-weight aluminum case, durable display with ION X glass and fluoroelastomer band in 5 bright colors.
    • Apple Watch Edition: Six different 18-karat gold cases, display protected with highly polished sapphire crystal and a uniquely designed band for the fashion forward techie.

Now that you have the lowdown on the latest gadgets, you are fully equipped to talk tech with your friends without skipping a beat. And if you want to get a quick feel for the live event, check out this video from Mashable for a 90 second recap that basically repeats what we said above but in much cooler “Apple” style.

organizing digital files

The Right Way to Organize Your Project Files

Got a mountain of clothes growing on your closet floor? Fine. Are boxes of half eaten leftovers exploding out of your fridge? Sure. But please, for the sake of your sanity and ours, keep your digital files organized!

How to do it right:

Naming and categorizing every file that is connected to your website or project may seem like no big deal but how well you do it is essential in laying a solid foundation for your web development or project management experience. The more detailed and regularly done, the easier it is to retrieve files without a headache. Here are some tips for organizing your files:

  • CLEAR & CONCISE NAMES: Get in the habit of naming your files clearly as soon as you create them. It will save time down the road if your files are named with specific details of exactly what the image is or copy says.
  • CONSISTENT PREFIXES: By using the same name prefix for similar files, all your logos, headers, backgrounds, etc. will appear next to each other in an alphabetically sorted list. If you use the same file name scheme consistently for multiple projects, you’ll know quickly where to find the right files.
  • KEEP EVERYTHING ARCHIVED: Don’t lose, delete, or give away your original image working files! A designer will typically create an image file in Photoshop or Illustrator. They’ll use the extensions .psd, .ai, .tiff, or .eps. These files almost always have editable components, so if another designer or web developer needs to adjust something like a color or the text in the image, they’ll be able to do so easily. If all you have are .jpg, .gif, or .png files and you want to change something – or even display it at a larger size than what you have – another designer will have to recreate the file from scratch.

Here are some examples of good and bad file names:

    • Good: “Logo – Dark Red with Heart.psd” and “Logo – Blue with White Heart.psd”
    • Bad: “red heart logo FINAL version.psd” and “bl & w logo for web.psd.”

Organize Your Website FilesNot only do these methods help the overall experience of project management and web development, but forming good organizational habits like these will come in handy for any digital deliverable you are working on, whether it be at the office or on your personal device.

Plus, with all the time you’ll save not having to search for badly named files you can finally get around to throwing out that moldy sandwich from two weeks ago…well, maybe.