September’s Tech Tip – Attachment Reminder

Here’s a quick Tech Tip for the month of September!

  • Attachment Reminder:There is nothing more annoying than sending a message which is supposed to have an attachment then forgetting to include the attachment.With this feature, Outlook 2013 will notify you if the attachment in an email is omitted. If you don’t want the warning, you can disable it by checking the “Do not show” box in the warning.Users can turn it off in Attachment Reminder setting. If you change your mind, you can turn it back on in File> Options> Mail>Send message>Select “Warn me when I send a message that may be missing an attachment.”

 

**If you don’t have Outlook 2013 click here for a FREE Outlook plug-in that will help achieve the same thing!

 

IT Direct Makes Inc. Magazine’s Annual Exclusive List of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc. 500|5000

Inc. Magazine Unveils Its Annual Exclusive List of
America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies—the Inc.500|5000
IT Direct Ranks No. 2628 Nationally and No. 26 in Connecticut
on the 2013 Inc. 500|5000  with Three-Year Sales Growth of 134% 

WEST HARTFORD, CT: August 26, 2013Inc. magazine has ranked IT Direct No. 2628 Nationally and No. 26 in Connecticut on its 32nd annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs. IT Direct joins LivingSocial, Edible Arrangements, CDW and Lifelock, among other prominent brands featured on this year’s list.

“We are honored to be among the fastest growing private companies in America. Thank you to our growing list of clients who trust us with their I.T. networks and computer support needs. We look forward to continuing to grow with you and helping you use technology to reach your goals. I am also extremely proud of the talented team here at IT Direct. The lion’s share of this honor goes to them for their dedication to our clients and for their help in making IT Direct a fun and rewarding place to work.” said founder and President of IT Direct, Ari Santiago.

In a stagnant economic environment, median growth rate of 2013 Inc. 500|5000 companies is an impressive 142 percent. The companies on this year’s list report having created over 520,000 jobs in the past three years, and aggregate revenue among the honorees reached $241 billion.

IT Direct’s profile can be found at www.inc.com/profile/it-direct. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database can be found at www.inc.com/5000.

“Not all the companies in the Inc. 500 | 5000 are in glamorous industries, but in their fields they are as famous as household name companies simply by virtue of being great at what they do. They are the hidden champions of job growth and innovation, the real muscle of the American economy,” says Inc. Editor Eric Schurenberg.

IT Direct Contact:
Monique Taylor, IT Direct, Phone: 860.924.7860, Email: mtaylor@gettingyouconnected.com

About IT Direct:  IT Direct, based in West Hartford, CT, is a premier technology management & IT solutions provider for small to midsize companies & non-profit organizations. For more information, visit: www.gettingyouconnected.com

Methodology

The 2013 Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2009 to 2012. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2009. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2012. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2009 is $100,000; the minimum for 2012 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000.

About Inc.

Founded in 1979 and acquired in 2005 by Mansueto Ventures, Inc. is the only major brand dedicated exclusively to owners and managers of growing private companies, with the aim to deliver real solutions for today’s innovative company builders.  Total monthly audience reach for the brand has grown significantly from 2,000,000 in 2010 to over 6,000,000 today.  For more information, visit www.inc.com.

 

August Tech Tips – Manage Your Desktop & Drag Your Favorite Page Into Your Bookmarks Bar

Here’s some quick Tech Tips for the month of August to help you be more productive. As always, reach out anytime! We are here to help.

Manage Your Desktop

Your desktop was created to give you quick access to programs and folders. It really should not be used to store your work or downloads. If your hard drive fails, you’ll want to have your files organized by having the photos in the Photos folder, the documents in the Documents folder, etc. This makes it easier for retrieval in case of a catastrophe.

Drag Your Favorite Page Into Your Bookmarks Bar

Drag your favorite page to your Internet browser favorites or bookmarks bar by clicking your mouse button on the icon (for example: if you are in Google, it would be the Google “g” icon at the beginning of the address) in the address bar and dragging it to your favorites or bookmarks bar and letting go. Once complete the page will be bookmarked on the bar. If you wish to move the icon, click-and-drag the icon anywhere on the toolbar.

 

 

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.

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.