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.

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.

Outsourcing Network Management

Outsourcing Network Management

Outsourcing your network management with IT Direct gives you a cost-effective team of professionals. What is the value of this team? Just one IT professional will typically cost you $60,000-$80,000 per year with salary, benefits and overhead expenses. We deliver a specialist in every area that you need for a fraction of the cost of bringing that expertise in-house, saving you thousands of dollars in the process.

With IT Direct you are instantly “hiring” decades of IT experience and receiving a complete IT Department at a fraction of the investment. Our technicians are seasoned, qualified, professionals with years of real world experience. We require all of our staff to attend ongoing training to ensure we are up-to-date on the latest technologies and solutions. You won’t find a better-qualified team of professionals anywhere for your company’s network management.

Just as important as your need for IT expertise is the localized, individual attention your business deserves. We’ll answer every question you have in plain English and ensure that you understand your options so you can make decisions based on your priorities and budget – not just because we say so.

Solid network management recognizes that response time is critical when there is an issue with your network. Clients of IT Direct are guaranteed a one-hour response time by a qualified technician for any emergency. When your computer network goes down in the middle of a busy workday, you need it fixed immediately so as not to affect your employees’ productivity as they wait for their computers to go back online. We also offer remote monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to prevent problems before they interfere with your business.

Every company has unique, specialized needs for network management, and one solution certainly doesn’t fit all. Each of IT Direct’s clients enjoy a specialized, cost-effective solution for their IT needs. All of our technicians are trained to find the highest value solution to your problem without sacrificing quality. We never charge clients for expensive upgrades, hardware, and solutions that aren’t necessary. Costs vary, depending on the network.

The Nuts and Bolts

All computer networks need regular ongoing maintenance to keep them running problem free. With IT Direct, you’ll not only enjoy faster and more reliable service from your computer network, but you’ll gain incredible peace of mind knowing that your network and the data is held safe from loss, corruption, downtime, viruses, hackers, spyware, and a host of other problems.

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

Computer Consulting: The IT Direct Difference: The Way I.T. Should Be™

Computer Consulting: The IT Direct Difference: The Way I.T. Should Be™

Since 2002 IT Direct has focused on computer consulting the right way – simply put, The Way I.T. Should Be™. Yes, the latest and best technology is crucial for servicing your company’s systems, but just as important for computer consulting are the technicians – the first-line experts for your IT support. That’s the IT Direct Difference, and it all begins with our 5-Point Pledge™ to you:

1. We guarantee a response time of one hour for network emergencies.

When you experience computer network problems in the middle of a busy workday, you need it fixed immediately. IT Direct commits to having a qualified technician working on your issue within one hour. Also, since it’s best to find a problem before it even happens in the first place, most clients take advantage of IT Direct’s Remote Monitoring as part of our comprehensive computer consulting services. It’s a secure watch over your critical systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week to prevent network and hardware problems before they interfere with your business.

2. We provide you the individual attention you deserve.

You may require a new network from the ground up, or simply need help in finding the source for an error message when you open a document. You can count on us to help. As a client, you will have a dedicated network engineer and a technician, as well as a team of back-up support to ensure you receive the highest level of computer consulting services.

3. We’ll answer your questions in plain English.

Your understanding of the various options that are available for computer consulting is important not just because we say so, but so you can make decisions based on your priorities and budget.

4. Our technicians are qualified professionals with years of real world experience who value continuing education.

IT Direct requires ALL of our staff to attend ongoing training classes so that our clients will benefit from the most up-to-date technologies and solutions. Computer consulting technicians attend training on our time, so you don’t have them learning on yours. You won’t find a better-qualified team of professionals in the Connecticut area.

5. We will provide you with the most cost-effective solutions

All of IT Direct’s engineers are trained to find the highest value solution to your problem without sacrificing quality – this means that we’ll help you invest only the dollars that are necessary, and not a dollar more.

When we serve small or medium businesses and non-profit organizations with expert computer consulting services, we take our 5-Point Pledge™ seriously because we know it is the IT Direct Difference for our valued clients. Connect with us and we’ll show you The Way I.T. Should Be™.

Computer Consulting in Connecticut: The IT Direct Difference

Computer Consulting in Connecticut: The IT Direct Difference

“IT Direct makes us feel like we are their only client.”
IT Manager Connecticut Science Center

This statement from a valued computer consulting client was part of the valuable feedback that we received recently after hiring an outside firm to conduct extensive surveying on our customer service. Aside from providing some opportunities to pat ourselves on the back, the beneficial results from the survey of our Connecticut clients allowed us to finely tune the profile of computer consulting clients whom we can best serve. We’ve narrowed these attributes to Seven Characteristics of Our Ideal Computer Consulting Client:

  1. Your organization has ten to 300 computers and wants to focus on its core business, leaving IT Direct to successfully apply, integrate and maintain the technologies that support you.
  2. You have realistic expectations about computer consulting and IT support, and agree with our 5-Point Pledge™.
  3. You value an IT partner who takes a business-minded approach.
  4. You operate your business with defined and reliable business processes.
  5. You believe that smooth-running technology systems are an essential advantage to your Connecticut business, and are willing to invest what you need to make your systems work (but not more than absolutely necessary).
  6. You share IT Direct’s belief in mutual respect among our computer consulting clients, employees and vendors.
  7. You believe that doing serious work doesn’t always mean being serious. We love working with people who are as fun we are!

If these Seven Characteristics sound like some of the qualities of your small or medium business in Connecticut, we would love for you to join our family of computer consulting clients. Here is how we meet our customers’ needs, and what you can expect as well:

  • Communication: Keep our clients and our team informed at all times.
  • Under-Promise, Over-Deliver: Clients know what to expect from IT Direct’s computer consulting services and can rely on our word.
  • The 5Ps: We know that Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance, so we equip ourselves thoroughly before every task.
  • Move Quickly, Don’t Rush: While our computer consulting clients receive a fast response times, we’re always careful to deliver the same quality service that defines IT Direct.
  • Value, Value, Value: We deliver this with every client interaction.

Since 2002 IT Direct has served computer consulting clients throughout Connecticut, ensuring smoothly-running systems 24/7, building and maintaining intelligent networks, and implementing necessary updates. We’re also honored to be called upon to design critical data backup plans and perform fast disaster recovery duties to restore our clients’ important business functions as quickly as possible.

That’s The IT Direct Difference, and The way I.T. should be™. We’re ready to help with Connecticut’s best IT and computer consulting services, so let us know how we can start getting you connected.

The Top 3 Issues Affecting Today’s Large Computer Networks

The Top 3 Issues Affecting Today’s Large Computer Networks

IT Security personnel and network support staff tasked with managing large networks are routinely at odds with identifying and solving the most common problems a large network poses. Typical causes that can be identified and treated, however, generally fall within one of the following three categories:

  • Performance Degradation
  • Host Identification
  • Security Issues

Performance Degradation

Performance degradation refers to issues involving loss of speed and data integrity due to poor transmissions. While every network is prone to performance issues, large networks are especially susceptible due to the additional distance, endpoints, and additional equipment at midpoints.

Solutions to performance degradation are not terribly difficult. The very first step is to purchase the best quality computer networking hardware one can afford. All other solutions build upon a solid foundation of good network hardware. After all, network performance is only as good as the components of which it is composed.

Although quality matters, in this case quantity can also be an issue. Networks without enough routers, switches, domain controllers, etc. is comparable to pumping water from a municipal well with a straw. Beginning with adequate, quality hardware is an excellent start, but that still is not enough. Hardware is useless without proper configuration.

It is essential to ensure all computers and network “plumbing” are properly connected (with quality cabling) and configured. This includes verifying network settings in server and desktop network configuration apps and also verifying settings in the firmware of networking components (switches, routers, firewalls, etc.). Every device connected on the network should be initially and routinely checked for problems, as rogue PCs infected with viruses, spyware, botware and so forth can waste bandwidth and, even worse, infect other systems.

Host Identification

Proper configuration is also essential to maintaining proper host identification. Just as the post office cannot deliver messages without some form of addressing, neither can computer networking hardware. While small networks can easily be configured with manual addressing, this becomes completely impractical in large networks. DHCP servers, domain controllers, and their requisite addressing software and protocols are a must when it comes to creating and maintaining a large, scalable network.

Top performance and proper host identification are hardly beneficial on a network that has been breached by hackers. It is for this very reason why securing one’s network is equally important.

Security Issues

Network security issues involve maintaining network integrity, preventing unauthorized users from infiltrating the system (viewing/stealing sensitive data, passwords, etc.), and protecting the network denial of service attacks.

These issues are greatly magnified as a networks increases in size. Larger networks are more susceptible to attack because they offer more vulnerable points at which intruders can gain access. More users, more passwords, and more hardware mean more places a hacker can try to get in.

Defense against these problems include using firewalls and proxies, installing strong antivirus software, deploying strict password policies, making use of network analysis software, physically securing computer networking assets, and invoking procedures that compartmentalize a large network with internal boundaries.

These three issues, as broadly encompassing as they are, can be overwhelming for small- to mid-sized business to handle on their own. Leave it to IT Direct to help you design, deploy, and manage a large networking solution that’s right for your business. IT Direct is the leading authority in Connecticut for computer networking and consulting solutions of any scale. Contact us today to get started.