27 Feb 2020

Finding the Right Computer Support Service Provider

Many small and medium-sized businesses choose to hire IT management and computer support service providers for their ongoing technology needs. Contracting out your IT and computer needs comes with several benefits, including: 

  • Lowered overall costs for hours spent 
  • More advanced employee training & support
  • Faster service and less down-time for the business
  • Services that are geared less toward “break and fix” and more toward prevention and maintenance 
  • Services that help your business operate more smoothly and efficiently

If you’re considering hiring a managed service provider, choosing the correct provider is essential. You want to make sure that your company’s computer system is in the best possible hands, so you never have to worry about something going wrong. Here are our top tips on selecting the perfect computer support service provider in Edmonton for your business.

 

What Does a Computer Service Provider Do?

Computer service providers are experts at ensuring that your business runs smoothly. They have many roles in the inner workings of your business, from installing and maintaining software to providing support for all of your IT-related issues. 

For a small to medium-sized business, using a managed service provider (MSP) may be more beneficial. An MSP helps you outsource your business’s IT infrastructure, making it far less costly for you. Many SMBs don’t have access to the full scope of IT services when they’re managed internally, so an MSP is often a better choice. MSPs help your business stay on top of things and protect you from threats like ransomware, which can easily cost businesses thousands of dollars. 

 

Our Tips For Finding the Perfect Computer Service Provider

Do They Provide the Services You’re Looking For?

One of the first things to do when researching potential service providers is to check exactly which services they provide. Find out when they’re available to provide support, which programs they work with or specialize in, and if they can help you meet your specific expectations and business goals. It’s good to find a company that delivers a diverse number of services as well, as it’s never a bad thing to have more versatility and options as your business grows.

 

What Does Their History Look Like?

You can see a lot about a company by looking at their background and who they’ve worked with before. Customer testimonials and reviews give you an inside look at the company from people who have worked and dealt with them before. If you feel hesitant or you’ve been burned by other service providers before, don’t be afraid to ask specifically for a business’s qualifications (and the qualifications of employees) to be sure they have the quality training and education you’re looking for. Think of it as if you were hiring an employee and conduct your research and meetings like you would for a job candidate.

 

What Are Their Prices and How Do They Work?

 Being unsure about any aspect of pricing is a surefire way to be disappointed. Be upfront with your potential providers about their pricing and the costs of working with them. Your provider should offer their services for a fixed fee that you can trust. Also peak with the provider about when you’ll be paying for their services, and whether it’s on an ad-hoc or scheduled basis. 

 

What Are Their Response Times Like?

When you have an IT-related issue, you want to get it solved as soon as possible, and you’ll want to know how long it will take to get these problems fixed and get up and running. The amount of time it takes for a response is partially dependent on how much you’re willing to pay, so be sure to talk to your provider about finding the balance between cost and response time.

 

Finding The Perfect Managed Service Provider

Be sure to reach out and ask your potential computer support service providers in Edmonton any questions you have before you begin working with them. You want a service provider that is dedicated to prioritizing your business’s success, and is willing to offer high-quality work to help you get the most out of your technology infrastructure. 

If you’re looking for a well-reviewed managed service provider in Edmonton for your small business, contact Alt-Tech to learn more about how we help our clients strengthen and grow their businesses through computer, cybersecurity, and IT services.

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14 Jun 2019

3 Tips to Destroy Sensitive Data & Information

Data destruction used to be simple. You’d take your files to the office shredder, toss them in, and they’d be effectively destroyed.

Unfortunately, it’s much harder to destroy electronic files. You might think you’ve completely destroyed your files by emptying the trash folder, but that’s usually not enough to permanently delete files from your computer. Emptying your recycling bin appears to delete sensitive information, but really, all you’re doing is erasing the file’s “easy to find” location. It still exists on your computer.

 

Why Can You Still Recover Files?

Have you ever felt that moment of panic when you accidentally delete an important document? Or when you can’t find Monday morning’s presentation? We’ve all accidentally deleted files before. That’s why our computer systems are designed to protect our files. According to How to Geek, this is how it works:

Your operating system keeps track of the files you have on your computer with pointers. These pointers show your computer where each file lives. When you delete a file, there’s free disk space where the old file once lived. That space can now be used to store a new file. However, until your computer saves another file in that free space, the previous file still has a footprint there and can be recovered.

 

Why is it Done this Way?

For speed and recovery. Deleting a file’s pointer and marking the space as available is a much quicker process than rewriting or writing over large files. It also means we have the chance to recover files if they’re accidentally deleted.

So how can you permanently delete documents from your computer?

 

  1. Overwrite It

When you delete sensitive files, they can still be recovered from your hard drive. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to prevent recovery: by overwriting your sensitive data.

Overwriting is usually done with a specialized program or software. When you’re overwriting, you’ll be literally writing over sensitive information with unimportant, meaningless data. The more times a file is overwritten, the harder it is to decode. There’s still some debate about how many times you need to overwrite to effectively wipe the file, but it’s generally recommended that you overwrite a file 3 times, if not more.

 

  1. Degaussing

Degaussing is a process where your hard drive is passed through a powerful magnetic field to make it completely unreadable. While this method doesn’t actually delete your files, the magnetics scramble the magnetic fields of your electronics to the point that data recovery is nearly impossible.

Unfortunately, you can’t just run a fridge magnet over your hard drive. This method requires you to use a trained professional to ensure the magnetic fields are properly shuffled. Which means it probably isn’t the go-to method for most small businesses.

 

  1. Destroy It

If you store sensitive information on a hard drive there’s one sure fire way to permanently destroy the data: physically destroy the hard drive. It’s kind of like shredding a paper document – except you’ll be shredding the electronics inside your hard drives.

Some companies offer this service for you, but it’s simple enough to do on your own. All you need to do is stop the electronics from running completely. You can do this by nailing through the drive, crushing it, or cutting it into pieces – however you can safely manage it. And this can be done for any electronic device, including memory cards or flash drives. The only downside? You’ve lost your entire storage device in the process!

It’s not the ideal destruction method for files, so if you’re about to head in this direction as a last resort, come see the professionals at Alt-Tech for a security consultation first. We can save you money and make sure all your sensitive files are securely stored or deleted.

 

To learn more about securely deleting files from your hard drive or if you need help recovering a file, schedule your free consult. We’re ready to help you with all your managed cyber security needs, big or small.

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