5 problems with legacy technology

According to a survey by Riverbed Technology, of 1,000 IT leaders from across the world, 97 percent say that legacy technology is holding them back. A definition of legacy technology describes the term as “an old method, technology, computer system or application program, of, relating to, or being a previous or outdated computer system.”

Even in the digital business era, legacy applications are a reality for most organizations from small and medium-sized businesses to enterprises. The reality is that those businesses that have not reached the tipping point where they can take advantage of the latest technologies are facing numerous risks every day. Here are just five of the most prevalent problems that dated technology can bring to businesses.

  1. Increasing operational costs and system downtime

The true cost of legacy technology far outweighs the investment. Because legacy applications cost more to run and maintain, they make the business highly inefficient in terms of OPEX.

Moreover, these systems crash often and require constant attention from the IT department, eating away at employee resources. That constant attention pulls IT personnel away from projects that increase business opportunities and operational efficiency.

Because they suffer a higher failure rate, these technologies require tracking down increasingly rare replacement parts that manufacturers may have stopped supplying. In addition, the constant threat of downtime means that the workforce cannot be productive and the customer base will suffer as even a single downed system ripples throughout the operation.

  1. Security vulnerabilities

Cyber criminals love legacy technology. This is because they are extremely vulnerable to attack. Unfortunately, businesses face a one in four chance of falling victim to a cyber-attack that could cripple them permanently.

Because many of these outdated systems are no longer supported by the manufacturer, a single unpatched vulnerability can enable attackers to access all applications, middleware, and databases running on the server platform. Plus, without modern backup and disaster recovery solutions and other security solutions and services, the business will never be able to properly safeguard its data today and tomorrow.

For businesses operating under stringent regulatory compliance requirements, the cost of outdated technology can compound those serious repercussions. Compliance standards require that your technology be supported. Not only are audits difficult and costly to conduct in environments with legacy technology, but a breach sets the business up for expensive fees and penalties.

The loss of reputation and customer trust alone could send the business into a financial spiral. Ultimately, the need for comprehensive network and infrastructure solutions that can make the business more agile, as well as secure, is crucial to phasing out or integrating the applications in ways that further the business.

  1. System incompatibility

Another problem with using outdated technology is that most legacy systems are incompatible with newer systems, which is essential to effectively running the business in the digital age. This also compounds ongoing financial loss as IT-aware competitors reap the benefits of a growing customer base that requires speed, convenience, and security.

  1. Less support

As legacy technology moves further past the point of manufacturer support, fewer and fewer IT professionals with the knowledge of those systems are available to support them. As these application experts retire or leave the business, the costs of the smaller pool of experts in that technology grow.

  1. Inability to compete

In the era of cloud services, virtualization, and software-defined everything, legacy technologies can no longer enable the business to remain competitive as customers and clients demand faster responses, products, and solutions.

Consequently, the adoption of cloud via infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service enables businesses to move from CAPEX to much lower OPEX models. The need for mobility and secure remote access by the workforce to applications and collaboration tools is an imperative for the smallest business to the largest global corporation.

Every business today is faced with a landscape of accelerating technology that is changing the way business is conducted. Legacy technology systems inhibit business scalability and growth in that constantly evolving digital business landscape. With increased scale and demand, businesses require better throughput capacity and a modern IT architecture to manage operations or face the real prospect of losing relevance and an ability to compete.

If you need assistance assessing your legacy technology and considering new options, give TimbukTech a call at 309-444-7263. We’re prepared to learn more about your business and give expert advice that can make a difference in your performance and budget.


repair icon

Let’s talk tech upgrades

Tech upgrades can be daunting. There are budgets and capabilities to stay on top of, not to mention how easy it is to overspend or get the wrong thing.

Business owners and management can often forget that even the newest and most cutting-edge technology will someday have to be replaced. No matter how fast or feature-rich that network or computer seems right now, there will come a time when it will need to be upgraded.

It’s best to keep in mind that you may be buying a replacement for current technology in as little as a year or two. How do you factor that into your plans? Let’s go through three factors that could affect your process.

Expected Life Cycle

Most pieces of technology have an expected life cycle that can be predicted. A phone might last a few years, while an external hard drive might make it to ten years of service. When making your plans, consult the manufacturer’s warranties. You can also talk to TimbukTech on what to expect.

You don’t want to count on a piece of technology to last any longer than it’s supposed to. At the same time, you don’t want to plan for those expensive upgrades long before they’re necessary, either.

Device Reliability

Reliability is a separate factor. While there is an anticipated life cycle, you should also be aware that some brands and manufacturers are more dependable than others. You may have Microsoft devices around your home or office that continue to work even though they are several generations old.

In many cases it’s better to buy a quality product that you can count on for a little more money than it is to deal with unexpected expenses later on.

Compatibility

Your tech devices may not stop working. They may just stop working with newer hardware and apps.

Newer and faster things are coming out all the time and you need to anticipate that you’re eventually going to start using tools that outstrip your current devices. That means that it’s better to be slightly more aggressive with your upgrade plans when you aren’t for sure. TimbukTech is ready to provide guidance and advice here, too!

The smartest thing you can do for your business is develop a tech strategy. Your decisions should be based on sound advice from a trusted IT provider like TimbukTech. If you feel like you’re spending too much, getting too little, or not utilizing the right tools, it’s time to call us at 309-444-7263.

Our Canton, Macomb, and Washington, Illinois-based team at TimbukTech knows what it takes to keep a growing business going strong. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn why so many businesses across mid-Illinois trust us with their computers, networks, and devices.


Managed IT Service

What to look for in Managed IT Services in central Illinois

Outsourcing your company’s IT can be complex. There are many factors to consider and many IT solutions out there. Before you start looking for managed IT services, you need to know what you’re looking for.

Not all IT solutions in central Illinois a created equal. A managed IT service may offer very minimal services or very extensive services and it’s up to you to determine what level of service you need.

On-premise or off-premise IT administration services.

A Managed Service Provider, or MSP, may provide services either on-site or remotely. If services are provided on-site, an MSP may complete hardware upgrades and troubleshoot hardware problems, while working directly with employees to resolve issues. If services are provided remotely, an MSP may operate primarily server-side and through screen sharing. Either way, IT administrative services will bridge any gaps a company currently has with its internal IT department.

Managed cloud services.

Many companies are moving towards cloud-based solutions. MSPs that specialize in cloud services will secure, protect, monitor, and maintain the company's cloud solutions, providing an as-a-Service infrastructure for the company. Companies that want to outsource their software solutions may want to establish a relationship with a cloud-based MSP, as they will be able to deploy the needed cloud-based solutions.

Help desk solutions.

Companies that don't have an internal IT department (or who want to refocus their IT department to higher priority tasks) can use the services of a help desk solution. A help desk solution will respond to trouble tickets from within the company, addressing internal issues and putting out fires. This frees up the company's own IT staff for more important tasks.

Data backup and protection.

Data is central to the operations of the modern business. MSPs may provide advanced data backup and protection suites, which will protect the company's data from malicious attacks or negligence. Frequently, cloud-based backup solutions are used to redundantly sync and protect data.

Security solutions.

Security-as-a-Service is becoming a more popular way to protect a company's infrastructure and its data. Advanced security solutions are able to monitor a network environment and identify potentially malicious behavior. An MSP will be alerted to security issues and can work to mitigate them quickly.

TimbukTech offers all of these services, so it’s time to assess your current IT infrastructure and pain points to determine the services that you need. We can walk you through the assessment in a short meeting to begin to develop a plan for your business going forward.

The needs of a company can vary depending on its industry. TimbukTech specializes in quite a few industries including financial, healthcare, local government, manufacturing, retail, and small business. Our experience in these industries makes us very knowledgeable and ready to take on industries beyond these as well!

A managed IT service provider is going to work with you as a partner. Once you find the right fit, you’re sure to improve upon and optimize your company’s entire IT infrastructure. Give TimbukTech a call at 309-444-7263 to begin exploring your options close to home!


Anonymous hacker at work

Protect your information

Scamming people has been around for ages and as long as people continue to fall for them, people will continue to set them into motion. New scams and new mediums with which to create them are changing and growing constantly. The new thing? Computers and interactive scams. As long as people use computers, criminals will continue to use them in their scamming efforts.

Some examples of common scams include:

  • The Nigerian Prince check scam
  • Winning a fake lottery or prize
  • Travel scams
  • Disaster relief scams
  • Phishing

We know people are falling for these because studies show a good percentage of people are willing to give out personal information voluntarily to people they may or may not know. This can be interpreted as a majority of the population is not careful enough with their information. It’s scary to find the numbers are sometimes in favor of the criminals.

Avoid being the victim of a scam

Education is key when it comes to scams. You should stay on top of current techniques scammers are using so you know what to look for in a scam.

How do you know if it’s legit or fraudulent?

To protect yourself, your company, and your customers from these cyber attacks you need to be up to date with current scamming trends and also know some best practices to follow in case you are suspicious of something.

Here are a list of cyber safety tips and best practices to follow to help minimize your chances of falling victim to a scam:

  1. Pop-ups
  • Make sure your browser has a pop-up blocker turned on.
  • Be suspicious of any pop-ups.
  1. Spelling errors
  2. Email
  • Be cautious of all links and attachments.
  • If you are not expecting or not familiar with an email address, be cautious.
  • Be cautious the email body is vague.
  • If you are possibly familiar with sender but were not expecting the email, reach out to the person to see if they did in fact try to email you.
  1. Familiarize yourself with popular scams or social engineering tactics
  • There are many great news websites with articles on current scams.
  • Example: JohnD@marrillych.com (Notice "Merrill Lynch" is spelled incorrectly?)
  1. If something says, “time sensitive” and you’re not familiar with the contents, do not feel the pressure to be rushed.

It’s not a bad thing to be suspicious! If something seems suspicious, consult us here at TimbukTech or do some further research to determine what the best course of action should be. Remember that like a fence or a firewall, you are the first line of defense to your money and information.

What is the best way to defend yourself against cybercrimes?

The best advice for defending against these scams is to be aware. Be aware that people are trying to scam you and be aware that the resources exist to help you spot these scams. If you follow these cyber safety tips, stay vigilant, and stay updated – You should feel more confident that you’re protecting your money and your information.


Busy man working with computer while talking on phone

Your IT guy won’t beat an MSP

Does your company work with a Managed Services Provider (MSP) like TimbukTech or are you relying on a “tech guy” in-house? We’re willing to bet that you’re relying heavily on a “tech guy” and hoping you don’t run into any difficulties. There are some drawbacks to that logic. Let’s take a look.

IT is the secondary role of your employee

Often, we find that your employee was not hired to be the IT guy, but in fact he’s the receptionist first and IT guy second. His core duties are scheduling, taking and making phone calls, routing email, directing visitors around, and much more. On top of these primary duties, your whole company is calling on this employee to fix their tech issues. At this point, he’s doing two jobs. It’s highly likely that this employee is not doing either job to his fullest ability as he can’t focus on one at a time.

Employee burnout

When one person is handling two jobs at the same time, the effort can really bog them down. He was asked to be a tech person because he knows a few things about computers and now that everyone’s aware of that, they’ll be calling upon him frequently. Anyone who has taken on extra duties beyond their core role knows that it is easy to get burnt out fairly quickly.

So now we ask, what if that employee quits? What happens when things turn ugly late at night? Is it up to this overworked employee to get up and come in to handle the situation? If he can’t come in until the next day, what does this mean for the company? Downtime can be costly.

Employee limitations

“The tech guy” can come with many limitations. Out of 40 hours in the workweek, how many are to be spent on their primary occupation and how many are to be spent on tech?

Another limitation might be training. It’s likely that this person has never read a page of a Network+ book, taken the MCSE test, or had any other IT training. Yet your company has him poking around in the network. What happens when he makes a mistake that brings the network down? Now you’re hiring a 3rd party anyway to come in and fix what’s broken. That can be expensive … often over $120 an hour, plus loss of business!

MSPs can help

When we come across a client that uses a “tech guy” in-house, we ask the following questions to assess lost revenue.

  • When was the last time your server was down?
  • How long did it take to bring it back up?
  • Were you able to conduct business without the server?
  • Did your tech person know how to fix the IT issue?
  • Did you need to call in a 3rd party to fix the IT issue?
  • How many times has the server or network gone down? Is this a fairly common occurrence?

The underlying cost of downtime could equate to a lot more than a monthly agreement with TimbukTech as your MSP. We’re here to help you understand the implications of not having a solid IT solution. Let’s explore your business’ options. Give us a call at 309-444-7263 and we’ll go through your specific needs and weigh your options.


Login and password

They’re fired, but what about their passwords?

It can be difficult to fire or part ways with an employee. You’re losing a valuable asset if they’re leaving voluntarily, but someone being fired can leave you in a lurch. You have the task of launching a disciplinary process and then holding a meeting at the time of termination. But there are other things to think about. Primarily security and the ex-employee’s access to company data.

It’s important to have a process in place so that whenever a termination or parting of ways occurs, nothing slips through the cracks regarding your business’ security. Here are some considerations regarding passwords and voluntary termination or involuntary termination.

When an employee is let go, immediately change all the passwords to anything the employee had access to. You should have a few days to make a plan and define the process for cancelling access. Don’t make the changes in security before your final meeting and dismissal. Instead, plan ahead and assign someone to disable their passwords during the time you are having the termination meeting. Before the meeting, be sure you have a list of all access cards, keys, etc. prepared so they can be cancelled before the employee leaves the building.

If your company has, let’s say, a Twitter account, you don’t want the ex-employee tweeting through it, so be prepared to change all social media passwords. We mention this because often companies and organizations either forget about these kinds of access or hesitate to change passwords due to hardships that occur and getting everyone access again. Trust us. The effort is worth it!

The possibility of having to lock out an employee may make you consider measures you have avoided so far. Consider a shared wifi password. Do you really want to change it for everyone or is it time to use a managed router and individual authentication?

If someone voluntarily leaves your employment, you hopefully have 2 weeks or so to implement a similar plan as above. Use your best judgement as to whether the soon to be ex-employee will be up to no good during their final days. That is only something you can judge on an individual basis.

Make sure you have a solid data backup and continuity strategy in place. You may need to compare data after the employee is gone to see if any sensitive data was moved or deleted.

We always recommend that you force a password change for immediately surrounding co-workers and consider a company wide reset. You may be unaware of shared passwords. Even though they are not supposed to use each other’s passwords, it may be going on anyways.

Lastly, you should consider pushing a remote wipe to the terminated employee’s BYOD devices from your Exchange server. This should remove only company data and reboot the phone to prevent access. Be aware that you might end up wiping all data from the phone, so you might openly ask them to delete company data on the device while they’re with you in the office. It will make it easier on themselves in the long run.

If you have questions on how to deal with departing employees, give us a call at 309-444-7263. TimbukTech can help you develop an employee termination procedure.


data backup being performed on desktop computer and laptop

Is Data Backup as a Service right for your business?

Data Backup as a Service (DBaaS) is a cloud service specifically for backing up data. It is a cloud service that is used for data backups alone.  Since DBaaS is a specialized service, it provides better backup services than generic cloud services. It is also known to be a more affordable alternative for small businesses.

Cost Savings

It is important to keep costs down, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of quality service delivery.  Since data backup plays a huge role in the success of a business, an investment in data backup is crucial. Data Backup as a Service offers the balance between quality service and low cost. In other words, it is a huge bargain for any businesses to make use of Data Backup services. There is no doubt that investing in such services will cut your stress levels as a business owner.

Remote Access

The use of DBaaS guarantees that data is accessible in any part of the world provided there is access to the internet.  This reduces the need to move around with physical backup devices. As a business grows, its reliance on physical backup devices will backfire as the need for more storage space arises. Even in cases such as this, the data is fixed to a physical location.

With Data Backup as a Service, a business is guaranteed a scalable data backup service. Storage space can be upgraded and downgraded when desired, and the data remains accessible in any part of the world.

Increased Data Safety

In many cases, you’ll find businesses making use of physical storage devices. This can be considered to be a cheap alternative, but it’s not one that will benefit the business.  The use of a physical backup device ties the business to a physical device. In unfortunate cases, the physical storage devices get damaged, corrupted or even lost. Businesses which rely on this are sitting on a keg of gunpowder. With data backup as a service the business doesn’t have to worry about the safety of data as it is now in the hands of a managed IT services provider such as TimbukTech. You can trust us to do the job well.

You’ll find it useful to know that this is still the best solution for growing businesses; as Data Backup services are needed when it grows from a small scale to a medium or large-scale business.  Data Backup services are the most efficient way for businesses to backup their data and save themselves lots of worry and stress.

Let us help you maintain your data backups so you can focus more on your productivity! TimbukTech’s service area includes Canton, Macomb, and Washington, Illinois and the surrounding areas. Many of our clients have multiple locations and out of state locations as well. If you’re looking for an IT services and support company in central Illinois please call us at 309-444-7263.


A password is hidden from view

Let’s talk password basics

Worry about your security all you want and keep locks on your data center and have the recommended level of network security available, but it will all mean nothing if your employees are sloppy with their passwords!

Based on data from real-world investigations and compliance management vendor Trustwave’s 2012 Global Security Report, the most common password used by global businesses is “Password1”! This is an unbelievable statistic, and it shows that many administrators don’t understand how to make password-based access policies more robust.

Here are some basic practices that you should require your employees to follow. System administrators should implement other policies, such as those that forbid using passwords previously used and locking accounts after a few failed attempts to login. But let’s take it a step further with these tips.

  • We recommend that companies change out all passwords every 30 to 90 days.
  • Each password should include a of mix upper and lowercase, number, and a symbol.
  • Teach employees NOT to use standard dictionary words (in any language).
  • Don’t use personal data that can be known, or could be stolen: addresses, telephone numbers, SSN, etc.
  • A longer password is a more robust one.
  • Emphasize that employees should not access anything using another employee’s login.
  • Employees shouldn’t use variations of the same password such as changing the number or special character. Hackers know this is a common practice and are using this knowledge to guess the passwords easier.

These are just a few basic password tips, but they can make a big difference in keeping your business’s sensitive data safe.


Wires in a knot after IT mistakes

Growing business? Don’t make these IT mistakes!

As an IT consultant, TimbukTech has come across many clients who are not happy with the way their IT shaped up over the years. They feel their IT investments never really yielded the kind of returns they expected and have come to us looking for change and new ideas. When we take a closer look at their IT investments, here’s what we typically find.

IT is not a priority

This is the number one mistake small to medium sized businesses (or SMBs) make. They’re focused on business growth, which includes marketing, sales, and inventory, but they don’t allocate any resources or money towards IT. Often IT investments are made begrudgingly.

The latest or “best” technology might not be for you

This is in contrast to the issue discussed above. Many SMBs realize the key role that IT plays in their business success. But they tend to get carried away and invest in the latest IT trends without considering whether it fits their business needs well, or if they really need it. Sometimes it is just a case of keeping up with the Joneses. But, why spend on the fastest computers or largest hard drives when you get only incremental productivity benefits?

Your team is not on the same page

When you bring in new technology or even new IT policies, it is your team that needs to work on it on a daily basis. If your staff is not on the same page with you, your IT investment is unlikely to succeed. So, before you make that transition from local desktops to the cloud, or from Windows to iOs, or roll out that new bring your own device (BYOD) policy, make sure you have your staff on your side.

Put it to good use

The lure of new technology is like a shiny, new toy. Investing in something popular and then not using it to its maximum is commonplace. Make sure you make the most of your investment in IT by providing your staff with adequate training on how to use it.

IT can seem challenging to navigate when you have to do it all by yourself. Steep costs can be incurred and without guidance, the result of an investment can be unclear. As a managed service provider (MSP), TimbukTech has the experience and expertise needed to be your trusted partner and guide in these challenges. Let us help you make the most of your IT investment.


Are you prepared for the end of Windows 7?

On January 14, 2020, the world will bid a fond farewell to the beloved Windows 7 operating system. Well, sort of. Microsoft has declared that, after that date, it will no longer update or support the system. It’s the final nail in the coffin for a trustworthy, oft-touted software package that’s been running on fumes since newer versions hit the scene. And, as with any funeral, there are some arrangements to be made for the millions of businesses that have stuck it out till the end. Here’s everything you need to know about the coming changes – and what you should do now to prepare.

The new of Microsoft closing down Windows 7 support may come as a surprise to some of us, but the operating system has been on its last legs for a while. In fact, Microsoft stopped adding new features and honoring warranties for the platform back in 2015. When 2020 comes, it will cease releasing patches and updates for good.

That doesn’t mean that Windows 7 PCs will suddenly stop working in January; you’ll still be able to boot up in the operating system if you keep it installed. But if you value your privacy, your data, and your sanity, it’s time to upgrade.

Those Microsoft updates that pop up from time to time don’t exist just to annoy you; they patch security vulnerabilities and protect you from new viruses and malware. Without that ongoing support, Windows 7 users will become fish in a barrel to sophisticated cybercriminals looking for a quick buck.

That’s why it’s essential that you call in the pros at TimbukTech to prepare your business for the switch to Windows 10 – or an alternative operating system – now, not later.

Upgrading your operating system well in advance of the Windows 7 end-of-life date may seem like a decision you should make for your peace of mind, but it’s even more critical than that. Of course, as time leaves Windows 7 behind, it’s certain that pieces of software will steadily become incompatible with the OS. Programs your company uses day-to-day suddenly becoming unusable will present serious headaches, but the real problem lies in the security of your network.

Windows developers are in a constant arms race with cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities in their platform. Each patch brings a host of bug fixes and security upgrades, but cybercriminals almost always find a new way in. Thus, the developers hastily put together a new patch, and the cycle continues.

When an operating system loses support from these developers, its users are left completely vulnerable to hackers. Like maggots drawn to rotting meat, they flock to the abandoned platform and dig into the networks of those stubbornly clinging to the outdated OS. This process is expected to be especially nasty after Windows 7’s end of life, since so many businesses still use the OS and likely will forget (or refuse) to upgrade.

If you value your business at all, it’s not a choice. You need to upgrade before time runs out.

Contact your IT experts at TimbukTech to facilitate your upgrades. As the clock ticks down on Windows 7, we’re expecting a flood of upgrade requests as businesses scramble to leave the OS behind before it’s too late. If you wait it out, you’re likely to find yourself at the back of a long, long line, potentially to the point that you breeze past January 14 without a solution. If you do, you’ll most certainly regret it.

Every day, the need for an upgrade becomes more urgent. Give the task ample time required and avoid needless stress. Reach out now and ask us to start the upgrade process today