Two More Join Our Growing Team!

We are excited to add two more members to our growing team! Ron Isaac, Sr. System Engineer, and Derrick Woolford, Technician Associate. We’re happy to have them join us here at IT Direct and look forward to a bright future with them!

 

   Ron Isaac

   Derrick Woolford

 

 

Exciting Grant Opportunity for our Non-Profit Clients

IT Direct is a proud TANGO Partner.

TANGO (The Alliance for Non-Profit Growth and Opportunity) is a great organization that helps non-profits in a variety of ways. You can learn more about them here. We are proud to be affiliated with them.

Recently they sent us over an outstanding Grant opportunity that we wanted to pass along to our non-profit clients. Please see details below:

2013 Grant Challenge Announced By NBC Connecticut!

The second annual NBC Connecticut 21st Century Solutions Grant Challenge launched Monday June 3rd!

The grant program will award a total of $100,000 to Connecticut non-profit organizations implementing new and innovative programs that are moving Connecticut forward.

The grant challenge is open to eligible 501(c)(3) organizations implementing innovative programs that are addressing challenges in new ways. Applications will be accepted in six categories: Media Arts, Civic Engagement, Jobs and Economic Empowerment, Technology, Education, and Environment.

Last year’s winners include: the University of Connecticut Foundation’s entrepreneurial boot camp program for veterans with disabilities, Charter Oak Cultural Center’s vegetable gardening and newspaper initiative to provide employment and opportunity for the homeless, and the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program’s cyber-gaming math challenge to close the achievement gap among urban students.

We’re excited to continue to work with organizations that are committed to bettering Connecticut. Please share the 21st Century Solutions information with colleagues and community partners.  Applications will be accepted from now through July 31st.

For more information about the grant or to apply, go to

www.NBCConnecticut.com and search “Solutions”.  A direct link to the page can also be found here.

Applications need to be submitted by July 31st, so act quickly if this is something your non-profit might be interested in! 

IT Direct Welcome Two New Solutions Specialists to the Team!

We’re always excited to bring on new team members and these guys are great. They get out there and get the job done. Keep up the good work and we look forward to many years with both of you!

        

Sean Reardon                    Jeremy Palaia

 

Click here to check out the write-up from the Hartford Courant!

Have you heard about the Microsoft Surface?

No doubt you’ve heard about the iPad, but have you heard about the Microsoft Surface?

We are big fans of the device here at IT Direct! We wanted to share with you a great info-graphic that shares some of the features and advantages of the Surface – reach out to us if you have any questions!

More details can be found here.

The Top 5 Benefits of Cloud Computing

If you run a small business, you probably worry about your ability to compete with your larger rivals. You might not think that you have access to the same technological resources as big corporations. However, if you take advantage of cloud computing, you can level the playing field. Cloud computing is a revolutionary new concept that gives you access to cutting-edge technical systems at a fraction of their normal cost.

Cloud computing takes advantage of your high-speed Internet connection to outsource your computing resources, allowing you to use powerful computer services without the expense and hassle of buying and installing the latest workstations and servers. Here are five of the best reasons to use cloud computing.

Data Safety & Security

Cloud computing offers unparalleled backup performance. In addition to archiving your old data, cloud-based backup solutions can provide you with real-time backup. With these systems working for your business, you won’t ever lose a document in the event of a sudden catastrophe, such as a power outage or building fire. Your data will be protected from intruders as well; you won’t have a vulnerable on-site server for intruders to attack.

Remote Accessibility

Cloud-based software tools and data can be accessed from any computer with a reliable Internet connection. If you often send your employees out on assignment, they’ll still be able to access your business’ data and services while out on the road.

You can also take advantage of this feature to set up telecommuting opportunities for interested employees. If you ever have to relocate your office because of a localized disaster, such as a building fire, flood or major storm, you’ll still have access to all of your cloud-enabled services and data at your temporary location.

Lower Costs

Technology is a never-ending investment; the month after you buy a new server, something better and faster will be released. Keeping up to date with the latest software and hardware can quickly drain your company’s resources.

However, cloud computing spreads this cost amongst many businesses; your monthly fee will stay the same, but your provider will continually upgrade its software and hardware for you. Instead of making large capital investments for updated servers and workstations, you can save your hard-earned money for other expenses.

Ease of Deployment

Cloud solutions allow you to open a new location quickly and easily. Because cloud solutions are stored and implemented remotely, all you need to open a fully functional new office is an Internet connection. You won’t have to waste time installing software, transferring data and configuring devices.

Additionally, cloud computing makes upgrading your existing services simple and easy. You won’t have to send your IT department to upgrade each individual workstation; instead, upgrades are applied to the centralized cloud servers, granting every single workstation access to the newly upgraded services.

Flexibility and Scalability

Cloud computing allows you to adapt your computing resources to your business’ needs. Most providers offer a wide variety of plans tailored to fit the needs of almost any business. You won’t have to install hardware and software that you don’t need simply to get access to the services that you do need.

However, if your business needs change suddenly, cloud computing makes it easy to upgrade your services. A simple phone call is enough to increase your service level, granting you access to greater storage space and more powerful services. If your needs change again and you find that you no longer need your more powerful plan, you can drop your excess coverage for a leaner plan.

Cloud computing allows your business to use cutting-edge data tools without expensive overhead. Our cloud computing services give your business flexibility, security and worry-free technological solutions at a fraction of the cost you might expect to pay. Contact us today to find out whether our cloud solutions are right for you.

Do You Need a Network Security Specialist?

When operating a business of any size, utmost care is required to protect not only company data, but sensitive data for the clients of that company as well. Going that extra mile to ensure the safety and well- being of your clients can be a valuable asset to set you apart from your competitors. Now is the time to consider whether your company should invest in the professional knowledge of a network security specialist.

A network security specialist is a computer administrator who protects your company’s data and private information. Duties included with this position vary with the size and needs of your company, but typically, at the very basic level, these specialists will install and maintain anti-virus programs, firewalls, and other data security processes for your servers and computers.

Your company deals with important and irreplaceable information, and it is imperative to keep your network security at maximum functionality. If you are considering employing the services of a network security specialist, here are a few important issues to take into account:

1. Network Security is Imperative – As the economy continues to shift farther and farther toward being completely run and maintained electronically, your customers will expect that their vital information and accessibility will all be digital. This will require a network, and that network will require a professional that knows how to run and protect it effectively. This can be both detailed, and time – consuming. While some businesses are fortunate to employ somewhat knowledgeable employees, the challenge comes in trying to find enough time for these employees to perform their own tasks, while assuming the specialized duty of a network security specialist as well. Ideally, the best option is to hire an outside specialist to maintain it for you, effectively and efficiently.

2. The Hacker is Probably One Step Ahead of You – Computer hackers make their livings by compromising networks to steal vital information from your company. In the same way that you wouldn’t leave the front door to your building open and jeopardize your material assets, the same care must be given to protecting your virtual assets as well. Even if you are diligent with network maintenance, taking care of networks isn’t your specialty. Today’s computer hackers are working just as diligently, if not more, to create new and better ways to break into your system. These hackers have invested time and money dedicated to knowing the ins and outs of networks like yours. It is essential that all companies make sure that their network and sensitive information remains safe and completely untouched.

3. The Software For Your Network is Always Changing – In order to keep up-to-date with your network, you must make sure that it is running as efficiently and securely as possible. This requires a constant monitoring of the market, if you want to be completely caught up with the new advances in the industry, something that you likely don’t have time to pay attention to yourself. A network security specialist will take care of this for you.

4. The Software For Your Computer Needs Maintenance – In addition to the software mentioned above, the portion of your network located on all devices within your network need to be monitored frequently and thoroughly for lapses in protection. A skilled hacker needs just one computer to be faulty before they can infiltrate your network and begin to crack the network from within.

5. You Can’t Let Your Security Lapse Even Once – With the majority of your company’s data stored online, or accessible digitally, there is far too much at stake to trust it to anyone but a network security specialist. One successful breach by a hacker can completely ruin the infrastructure of your network, putting all of your data and files at risk. Just as important as protecting your company from material thieves, utmost care should be exercised to protect your vital, irreplaceable virtual security as well.

Your clients look to you to perform a service, and you perform it well. They trust that you are operating in their best interest 100% of the time. Whether you are a large corporation or a smaller local operation, don’t let an unfortunate slip in your network security undermine your best efforts to operate a successful and profitable business, no matter what your size.

New IT Direct Office Building!

As we continue to grow our number of employees and clients – our office space needs are also growing!

We are excited to announce that IT Direct has purchased a new 19,000-square-foot office building at 67-69 Prospect Ave. in West Hartford.

Some details can be found below and also at this link or here as well.

We’ll be sure to throw a great Open House for you to attend when we move into the building later this year!

W. Hartford office sale

IT Direct has purchased a19,000-square-foot office building at 67-69 Prospect Ave. in West Hartford.

The information-technology services vendor will occupy most of the building purchased from Hartford CRE Holding Co. LLC.

The building, constructed in 1989, has three stories atop covered parking for 73 vehicles.

Chozick Realty represented Hartford CRE. Eagle Rock Retail LLC represented IT Direct.

Computer and Network Support – The IT Direct Way

Imagine the ability to operate your business without ever saying:

“Our network stability and speed isn’t what it should be.”
“We have security and/or compliance concerns.”
“Reliable computer and network support is cost prohibitive.”
“Our current outsourced provider is not meeting our needs.”

Is it possible? You bet. When executed properly, the best computer and network support from IT Direct will dramatically reduce or eliminate IT issues in your business while optimizing your network’s performance – all at a price that fits your company’s budget. It’s a PROACTIVE approach that prevents computer and network problems from escalating into unexpected data loss, downtime, and (worse yet) interruptions that lead to business and financial deficiencies.

More than keeping one’s business afloat, though, is allowing your IT infrastructure to work for you. IT Direct’s quality computer and network support actually delivers ROI and value by intelligently assessing your business’ goals, then following through on the plan that puts the technology and knowhow precisely where you need it. The result? Increased uptime, productivity, and efficiency.

High caliber planning, equipment and knowledge are key to successful computer and network support, but a concentrated attention to our clients’ satisfaction is equally important. It goes without saying that the professionals at IT Direct are available 24/7/365, but what else is important?

  1. A guaranteed one-hour response time to network and computer emergencies. We know that your computer network, e-mail, database, and Internet access are critical to your company’s basic functioning, and with 24-hour remote monitoring, your network and computer problems are identified and addressed immediately with minimal interference to your employees’ work time.
  2. A computer and network support provider that’s big enough to handle any computer job yet small enough to give the individual attention you deserve. Each of IT Direct’s clients has a dedicated senior technician, a team of back-up support technicians, and our owner’s involvement to ensure the highest level of service. Our team of professionals has years of experience in the IT industry, and we require all of our staff to participate in ongoing training in the latest technologies and solutions.
  3. The most cost-effective solution. As your outsourced IT staff, we answer your questions simply and help you understand all of the available options for network and computer support. IT Direct’s team knows to present the least expensive resolution while maintaining quality. Maintaining network security and preventing loss, corruption and theft is critical; but we never charge clients for expensive upgrades, hardware, and solutions that aren’t necessary.

Think all of this is too good to be true? Think again.

IT Direct’s Managed Services plans are designed with your specific situation in mind and include consulting on network design, deployment, hardware and software, and ongoing support. Our detailed recommendations include estimates to help with your prioritizing and budget forecasts, making our programs ideal for businesses who are ready to get back to business rather than spending time and energy on their IT.

Connect with us and let’s get started.

Network Security – The Cold Hard Facts

Network Security – The Cold Hard Facts

Most of us would think that a network that boasts a 99.9% security rate sounds fairly safe, right?

Think again. Consider some other 99.9% error-free situations:

  • 880,000 credit cards would have incorrect cardholder information on their magnetic strips.
  • Two planes at Chicago’s O’Hare airport would have ‘unsafe’ landings each day.
  • 12 newborns would be given to the wrong parents each day.
  • 315 entries in Webster’s Dictionary will be misspelled.
  • 3056 copies of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal would be missing one of the three sections.
  • 18,322 pieces of mail would be mishandled every hour.

In reality, a 99.9% success rate for network security is the goal for any size of business that can lose thousands of dollars an hour due to a “minor” compromise in network security. It’s essential to have a solid plan in place that maximizes productivity, performance and, most importantly, protects your investment.

Just as important, your client’s confidential information should be safeguarded against any threat from viruses, spyware or hackers. It’s been said among IT experts, in fact, that “if you want to know something about a person or a company that no one else in the world knows, hack his doctor’s or attorney’s computer.” Regardless of your industry, your customers trust you with their proprietary data that can only be protected with airtight network security.

Securing a computer network – either within one office or across the world – requires expertise in network design, protocols, and device configuration. Beyond that, here are a few of the regular network security functions that IT Direct’s clients can expect to occur either remotely or onsite:

  • Security Patches: Even if your network is correctly configured and your workstations have strong passwords, there could still be a defect within any of your software that allows a hacker to access your office’s computers. Fortunately, all the major software vendors release security patches, or fixes, which we manage and implement for you.
  • Encryption: Another way to help to protect your data is through encryption, which mathematically converts the data into an unreadable form. A password or “shared secret” (sometimes generated automatically) usually controls the conversion, and only a person or program that knows the password, or the method to generate the shared secret, can read the encrypted information. This method is especially useful for storing files on your local PC as well as files you wish to transfer over a network.

IT Direct considers network security a team effort with our clients, though, and we offer these suggestions to the individuals in your company so as to further lock in your critical data:

  • Minimize your network presence, particularly those actions outside of your firewall. Turn off all nonessential network activities when not in use such as FTP, file sharing and Telnet.
  • Protect your emails with simple to use encryption software to keep hackers from intercepting and reading confidential information. A personal email certificate not only lets you digitally sign your email so that recipients can verify that it’s actually from you, but also encrypts your messages so that only the intended recipients can view it.
  • Use strong passwords. The types of programs used by hackers to crack passwords try patterns of words using English and foreign language dictionaries. Avoid those common patterns, and your password is much less likely to be guessed by a hacker.
  • Keep your personal computer up to date with security patches and practice secure computing, such as not clicking on strange links in emails or opening unexpected attachments. Remember, network firewalls cannot prevent hacker attacks that trick people into clicking on dangerous links in their web browsers, not do they help if an infected laptop is brought onto your network and then starts to attack or probe other computers.
  • Don’t forget your laptop or handheld device. One of the largest single types of security breaches is the lost or stolen laptop, which can contain your company’s trade secrets, financials, marketing plans, and more. We recommend a combination of a password and encryption program, with the flexibility of protecting individual files to hardware-based full discs on your device.

A network malfunction, hacker or virus can cause your entire computer system to shut down and can even permanently destroy all the information on the system. Let IT Direct protect your system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with our network security solutions that will help you experience less network downtime and save thousands of dollars.

Network Management: The Keys to Business Success

Network Management: The Keys to Business Success

A computer network needs regular maintenance to maintain its speed, efficiency and security: leaving a problem unattended can not only effect performance, but can also lead to extended downtime and data loss that could have been prevented.

Unfortunately, most business owners don’t realize that their network is woefully inefficient or has been compromised until it’s too late. Numerous system checks and updates should be performed regularly to ensure maximum speed, performance, and security. Ignore them and your system will grow progressively slower, unstable, and susceptible to viruses, spyware, and hackers.

Tape backups for your company’s critical data isn’t enough. Unfortunately, the failure rate for tape backup is 100%, meaning that tape drives will fail at some point, without warning. The worst time to discover that your backup is no longer working is the day after your hard drive is erased, hardware fails, or software becomes corrupted.

Managing your business network should encompass:

  • Regular maintenance of your IT infrastructure to ensure speed and efficiency
  • Critical software updates and security patches
  • Fast, remote technical support, and
  • 24-7 watch over your network and data.

Strategic Network Management from IT Direct:

Here’s what we offer new clients through our Problem Prevention Assessment:

  1. Check your network’s current security against hacker attacks, theft, worms, viruses, and even employee sabotage.
  2. Scan and remove hidden spyware that is secretly stealing your company’s bandwidth, jeopardizing the speed of your computer system, and stealing confidential information about you, your employees, and your business.
  3. Check your network back up system to make sure it is working properly and accurately, backing up all of the files and information that are absolutely critical for your business’ operation.
  4. Perform a quick network “tune-up” to make programs and files load faster.
  5. Discuss a project or upgrade you are considering, or give you a second opinion on a quote you received.

Whether building a new network from the ground up or deciphering an error message when you open a document, you can count on IT Direct to help with all aspects of your company’s network management. As a client, you will have a dedicated network engineer and a technician, as well as a team of back-up support to bring you the highest level of support. What’s more, you can also count on our company owner to get involved with your project to make sure you are receiving the best solutions and highest level of service possible. Contact IT Direct to schedule a consultation today at (860) 656-9110.