Use Facebook Recommend This Place to Build Your Orlando Business

If you have a business with a physical location, you can now use a brand new way to gain exposure for it in the news feed (and get more users to like your page too). This feature is called “Recommend This Place,” the new feature on Facebook Pages lets businesses that have listed their street addresses in the Page build their fan bases, for FREE! Appearing in the right sidebar of Pages to users who live nearby your business, the Recommend This Place feature lets users write a short recommendation of your business which is then published to the user’s news feed and shown to his friends when they visit the Page. Easy and free! Could getting exposure for your business get any better?

Why this feature important to your business?

  • Because it gets your business news feed exposure like never before: How do you normally get free news feed exposure to non-fans? By getting them to mention or link to your Page in one of their updates, photo tags, or comments? Well, users are the least likely to do that. With this brand new easy to publish feature, you can gain free, compelling news feed which is going to help a recommendation author’s friends discover your Page.
  • Because of Like Conversion Improvement: What better way to encourage the author’s friends to Like your Page than this recommendation feature? It displays a social endorsement to the author’s friends.

Once you get the users to land on your Page, the content of your default landing tab (your wall or a third-party application) is what will convince them to Like your Page. So, make sure you are making a good impression.

How does this feature work?

Near the top of a Page’s right sidebar is where ‘Recommend This Place’ panel appears. This will be visible only to users who list themselves as living in the same city or otherwise within roughly 12 miles of your business. The panel has the instructions “Help your friends discover great places to visit by recommending [the name of your Page]” above an open text field where users can write a recommendation of your location.

Once the recommendation is submitted, it appears as a rich feed story on the author’s wall and yes, you’ve guessed it, in the news feeds of their friends as well where it is likely to receive Likes or comments. This will also appear to the author of a recommendation’s friends when they visit the Facebook Page of the location in a section of the right sidebar called “Recommendations from Friends”.

How do you attain recommendations?

Here’s how…

Use Geotargeted Page Updates to request users that live nearby to recommend. This can be done by:

  • Checking to make sure your Page lists an address and displays the Recommend This Place panel.
  • If not, adding an address in the Basic Information tab of the Edit Page admin interface.
  • Going to your Page’s publisher and clicking on the lock icon to bring up the targeting parameters.
  • Setting your country first followed by the city of your business.
  • Including nearby cities that are within roughly 12 miles of your city.
  • Writing a simple, thankful call to action requesting users to visit your Page and use Recommend This Place. Don’t forget to mention where the feature can be found.
  • Publishing and responding to any comments or questions with further instructions if necessary.
  • Repeating it every few months.

Want to know more strategies for getting users to recommend your Page? Your team of technology consultants at ASysTech are always here to help. Call us today for all your business IT needs.

Is Your Business Safe From Online Hackers?

If you think mere passwords can keep hackers away, think again.

That is what hackers are here for; to hack your passwords.

Do you know what one of their favorite targets is these days? It is online banking. So, if you happen to run a small business and have arrangements with your bank, it is high time you reviewed your online banking system. If you don’t do it soon, you may end up being one of the victims, just like a small business that lost $63000 to cyber-thieves in an online banking attack. Here is how the thieves did it…

First, they tapped into the company’s system with the help of a piece of malware called the Zeus Trojan and accessed the username and password used by the company while transacting with its bank. The thieves then created several ghost employees with payroll accounts which were sent to the bank and validated using the company controller’s username and password. They also didn’t forget to erase the confirmation emails regarding the transaction to keep suspicion at bay.

This cyber-theft is an indication that all small businesses need to review their current online banking systems and deal with the vulnerabilities they have in their existing systems. Weaknesses are things that let the hackers in. Don’t forget to beef up your security by reviewing your current security protocols. Hackers and cyber-criminals are constantly updating Trojans and other malware to stay in tune with changing IT protection systems. You must make sure you stay a step ahead of them.

Remember, you don’t have to experience it firsthand to learn; you can learn from others’ mistakes too.

My team at ASysTech specializes in working with Orlando businesses to ensure all your information is kept as secure as possible. We take the steps required to minimize the risks to your business from unauthorized access to company records through hacking and even social engineering. Give us a call today and our team will be more than happy to meet with you to discuss how we can help you lessen the risks associated with having the wrong IT security in place.

Is Your Orlando Business Ready for Another Version of Windows?

Windows 8 is coming soon; according to Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer. Recently the Microsoft leader was speaking to an audience of software developers in Tokyo where he announced that Microsoft’s next version of the Windows operating system, Windows 8, is all set to debut in 2012. Since this announcement, the blogs have heated up with many opinions on what Microsoft will change from Windows 7 to Windows 8.

Many of our peers and industry pundits have been speculating about the release of Windows 8 for the past while, this is the first time an actual date has been somewhat officially confirmed.

Ballmer further added that, as Microsoft approaches the release date, there will be a lot of noise around Windows 8, Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, and a variety of different form factors who all running Windows.

The upcoming version of Windows is likely to have an updated user interface and will support low-power ARM chip. This change is expected to give Microsoft a benefit in the blooming tablet market which is now dominated by Apple and an affluence of others, including Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook.

Windows 8 being released in 2012 puts it three years behind the earlier version, Windows 7, which was released in July 2009. As the tradition remains, Microsoft is relying on this new version to spur sales. Microsoft still expects to sell more than 350 million copies of Windows 7 this year even with new versions of the Apple MacIntosh Operating System LION now being announced.

As for the upcoming version, we will be hearing more about it at the upcoming All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. This conference is scheduled to happen next week where Microsoft’s Windows division president, Steven Sinofsky, is slated to speak.

Still have questions about Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft solutions in your small business? Talk to your Orlando Microsoft Partner today. ASysTech works with a number of businesses in and around Orlando. We can help you make informed decisions about any of Microsoft’s product offerings.

Ten Cyber Security Tips for Small Businesses

The Internet has revolutionized every single field, and business certainly is no exception. Businesses (even small ones) can now grow rapidly transcending borders, thanks to the Internet. Solutions like broadband connectivity and online business make it possible for businesses to grow beyond borders and allow for jobs to be created anywhere. But there is a major downside to using the Internet for your business; growing theft of digital information.

Don’t worry; that can be kept at bay with a few tweaks in your cybersecurity strategy.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has shared ten essential tips to make sure your business is secure. Nothing will beat having a trustworthy Orlando IT Support team to help; but for some, here are the basic 10 points the FCC wants to share:

  1. Train employees in security principles: Establish basic security practices to make sure all your employees know how to handle and protect vital business and customer information. Also let them know that there will be penalties for violating business policies.
  2. Protect information, computers and networks: Make sure all the computers used for business are protected with antivirus and antispyware software that are regularly updated (consider scheduling the updates for midnight when the computer usage is the least). Don’t forget to set the software to do the scan after it is updated. And if you would like additional protection, there are plenty of software packages that offer subscriptions to “security service” applications.
  3. Provide firewall security for your internet connection: See to it that firewalls are installed and maintained between your internal network and the Internet. Don’t forget to ensure that home systems of employees who work from their homes are secured with firewalls as well. Computers (including laptops) used while conducting business are other things that require firewall protection.
  4. Download and install software updates for your operating system: The updates come regularly which help you correct security problems and improve functionality; download and install them when available. OR, you can also configure all software to install such updates automatically.
  5. Back up your data: This is essential, and it is of vital importance that you do it regularly. We recommend a robust backup and disaster recovery be in use with all businesses.
  6. Control physical access to your computers and network components: Don’t let unauthorized individuals use business computers; and keep laptops, which are vulnerable to theft, away from danger by locking them up when not in use.
  7. Secure your Wi-Fi network: Make sure it is secured with passwords and its name is hidden (or not broadcasted). Don’t forget to change the administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.
  8. Provide employees with separate accounts: Each employee must be given a separate account that is protected with a strong password, and provide administrative privileges only to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
  9. Limit employee access and authority: Employees should be given access only to specific data systems they need to do their jobs, not the entire data system; and they should seek permission before installing any software.
  10. Regularly change passwords: Change passwords regularly, at least once in every three months.

Do you have questions about your IT security and how you can protect your business? ASysTech is here to help you. We consult with many small businesses throughout the Orlando area, helping many deal with day-to-day IT needs, as well as keeping their business information as secure as possible. Contact our team of Orlando IT professionals today for your no obligation review of business IT needs.

Microsoft Support Will no Longer Be Offered for Some Versions of Windows

For Windows XP and Vista users, there is bad news AND there is good news.

Let’s get done with the bad news first. The bad news is that support is ending for some versions of Windows which includes Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) for which support ends on July 12, 2011. And in case you didn’t know, support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) has already ended on July 13, 2010 which means if you are using any of these versions, you won’t get security updates for Windows after support ends.

However, users of the 64-bit version of Windows XP running it with SP2 need not worry as this version of Windows will continue to have Microsoft support and receive updates until April 8, 2014.

Now, we understand this is devastating news to some of you who elected to hold onto Windows XP but now is the perfect time to sit down and talk with your Orlando IT professionals about Windows 7.

In our opinion it is the better option for today’s business. Windows 7 simplifies your everyday tasks, makes your PC safer, and makes new things possible. For those “do it yourself” folks, make sure you download Upgrade Advisor to see if your PC can run Windows 7 before you run out and buy it. Compare versions to find out why Windows 7 is the better option and then and only then should you buy it.

Even better, call us and we can help your business determine the right version of Windows 7.

Not ready to shift to Windows 7 right now? Don’t worry, there are two things you can do: get Windows XP SP3 (a free update) or get Windows Vista SP2 (which is a free update too).

Windows XP SP3 includes all previously-released updates and a small number of new updates. There is no SP3 for the 64-bit version of Windows XP though, but you can use it with SP2 and you will continue to get support till April 8, 2014, as aforementioned. Likewise, Windows Vista SP2 includes support for new types of hardware and includes all of the updates that have been released since Windows Vista SP1.

As your Orlando Microsoft Partner, we can help you get the most out of your business IT. Talk with us today. To learn more about Microsoft retirement of Windows visit http://windows.microsoft.com/eos.

10 Questions to Ask Your Computing vendor

Cloud computing is undoubtedly promising and is expected to transform the IT landscape.

It helps companies efficiently use its hardware and software investments and save a great deal of money via subscription-based cloud platforms. But finding a suitable cloud computing vendor is difficult as most of them promise you the moon but don’t deliver much. So, if you are on the lookout for a good vendor, ask them questions on the following issues which will help you decide whether to sign the contract or not:

  1. The Basics: Begin right at the beginning. Learn as much as you can about the vendors by finding out their location, the kinds of services they offer, their experience, their support service and so on. If they seem unsure about what they are talking about, run away as fast as you can and don’t look back.
  2. Security and Availability: How do they deal with and watch security issues, install patches and perform maintenance updates? Do the security measures live up to your expectations? Where do they host data and in what kind of environment? Don’t hesitate to ask the vendor these questions. Also find out about their servers, infrastructures, and disaster recovery plans.
  3. Migration Services: Ask your cloud vendor about the migration-related services it provides like dedicated, allocated resource for migration and whether the process is done automatically or manually. Don’t forget to ask the vendor how much time it will take them.
  4. Integration: Find out if integration of the service is possible with your existing solutions. How do they do it and what is their contingency plan if the integration fails?
  5. Support professionals: Find out all about the support service of the vendor like the number of support professionals deployed, their qualifications, the location of the support center and between what times they can be contacted.
  6. Uptime Metrics and Reports: This is an issue most people fail to look into. Learn how your vendor measures uptime and which infrastructures are taken into account during the calculation. How are major outages handled? Do they have a SWOT team in place? And how do they communicate with customers? These are other questions to ask.
  7. Assess the Vendor’s Sales Process: Don’t just get your solutions out of the box as you may end up dissatisfied with the service. Observe the process in which the vendor makes sales to find out if you will be given the right kind of service.
  8. Pricing: Learn everything you can about the pricing – right from the billing and pricing structure to the renewal of the contract.
  9. Multiple Services: See if your vendor is capable of helping you merge all your IT as you may need it in the future.
  10. Ask for references: Do some research to find out how successful the vendor has been via industry recognition, peer reviews and awards.

ASysTech provides Orlando IT consulting services. We are watching the cloud and its impact on business. We can help you understand what cloud services may be right for your business and which ones you may need to steer clear of. Not every business is right for cloud computing, not yet. But some services can be moved online to help your business run more efficiently. This is where we come in. We can help you get the most from the cloud.