Check your system tray at the bottom right corner of your computer. If you see an icon like this one, you’re “protected” by Microsoft Security Essentials. Problem is, Microsoft’s free antivirus offering has become increasingly ineffective. Most recently, many antivirus ranking groups have de-certified the product.
Several years ago, many I.T. professionals installed Microsoft Security Essentials for 5 very good reasons:
1.) It’s free (for most users).
2.) It was effective
3.) It is easy on system resources
4.) It is “Quiet”. It didn’t constantly bug you.
5.) It never expired. This was a big one. We were tired of seeing our friends, family and customers vulnerable to expired antivirus programs simply because they ignored the “nag” to renew.
Now, we’re seeing MSE on infected machines in our shop by the dozens. If you’d like to buy antivirus from us, we’ll uninstall this junk for you while we’re installing our software. Best of all, we can do it for you remotely. Check it out here.
I’ve got countless stories of success and failure when it comes to our customers file backups. Some people truly get it right. Some people, with the best intentions, have their plans fall apart. For your benefit, let me tell you some “hypothetical” stories about fictitious customers who lost all or some of their files. Use this information to devise your own plan.
1.) Andre Rison backs up every night to an attached external hard drive. This way, if his hard drive fails, he’s protected. Problem is, Left Eye burned his house down and now both drives are ruined.
2.) Jaz-Z installed Carbonite on his laptop to push all his files to Carbonite’s data center in real time. That was 6 weeks ago. His data still hasn’t finished uploading because there’s no internet on Jay-Z’s private plane and he’s got tons of (music) files to backup.
3.) Tom Crean setup Windows’ built in automatic backup when he bought his new computer two years ago. Since then he’s been preoccupied with tweeting, recruiting, winning basketball games and developing NBA talent. He never noticed the first backup failed because of some file path error and he doesn’t have a single file backed up.
Geek Brigade prefers Disk to Disk to Cloud solutions that are monitored (by us, or by you, doesn’t matter). We then recommend you “practice” a restoration quarterly to make sure you are not only BACKED UP, but that you can RESTORE. After all, we don’t just want file “backup” we want files “restored”, right? You can certainly accomplish this yourself, but we’re glad to answer questions for you along the way. Feel free to reach out.
Several years ago our basement flooded on a Sunday. Calling through the phone book, the first place that had a human answer the phone got the job. I left messages in voice mail boxes, but kept calling competing damage restoration companies until a human answered and provided me with some assurance that they could help. There were companies spending thousands of dollars on Yellow Pages ads, but not answering the phone. That just doesn’t make sense to me. Those companies CAN respond quickly. Many of them called me back within a few hours to offer their immediate assistance, but it was too late.
Here’s Geek Brigade’s strategy for grabbing every single prospect phone call and converting them to a customer before they call our competitors:
1.) Every time someone calls Geek Brigade, all phones in the office ring, as well as all cell phones owned by technicians in the company. Every time! 24/7! The caller ID specifically let’s us know it’s someone calling Geek Brigade. We try to answer it. The caller only hears “ring tones”. We could play a message for them, or an auto attendant that invites them to hear our dial by name directory, but we’ve found prospects like to hear the phone “ringing”.
2.) That’s our first line of defense up there. After that, we want to play a message letting the caller know we really are a 24/7 operation, but we need a little more time to get to them. This message says something to the effect of: “Thanks for calling Geek Brigade, this line is answered 24/7. If you’re calling about XXXX, press one. If you’re calling about XXXX press two. If you’re calling about XXXX, press 3. If this is an emergency, press 4 to have a technician dispatched to your location.”
Each key press is routed differently, based on time of day, urgency, etc. The caller hears ring tones. Remember, that’s what they want to hear. In almost all instances, all our phones ring again, but so does the phone number of our answering service. We program our system to show different caller IDs based on what they pressed. If it’s an emergency, for example, we know… The answering service is our last resort. If after all this time (30-40 seconds) we can’t get to the phone, the answering service takes over and answers “Thanks for calling Geek Brigade, how can I help you?”. They take the message, assure the caller we’re working on it, then sends the message to us via SMS Text and Email. They charge us less than a buck to do that. LESS THAN A BUCK!
After all the time, effort, energy and money we spend getting the phone to ring, this is well worth it. Do you have a similar strategy? I would love to hear about it and bounce ideas off you. If you need help designing a system like this for your business, I’m glad to help with that too.
Many of our fellow business owners have shared with us statistics with regard to the success and failure of different advertising campaigns. When approached by Register Tapes Unlimited, we were convinced by Derrick Gentry this medium could work for us. We’re reporting the results now. 9 months in, not a single response. The same offer has brought in multiple responses with other advertising mediums, but on the back of a Kroger receipt, it’s completely ineffective. To make matters worse, RTU insisted we sign a one year contract. It’s almost as if they knew it wouldn’t work… Take our advice: If a vendor is confident in their product, they won’t need to lock you in to a long term deal…
If you’re still reading, I’m supposing you like this new format. Let’s pile on. Check out this monstrosity from my friends at the Indianapolis Indians. Good effort guys, I’m sure it’s beautiful, but how many people see this and click “show images”? I’m experimenting with a new monthly email format. It’s going to look pretty much like most of the other emails I send on a daily basis. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Many customers are bringing us infected computers that look like this. The virus writer, or the “FBI” has locked the computer because of criminal activity. Sometimes, they’ve actually used your webcam to take your picture! (Side note, we’re seeing more and more people covering their webcams with tape…) The most important thing for you to know is this: When you bring your computer to me, you don’t have to confess your crime/sins. This virus can affect anyone, doing anything. Enough said (= We’ll take care of it swiftly.
I’m a geek, so I try just about everything new under the sun. I began using Exchange about 10 years ago and NOTHING since has done more for my sanity and productivity. Everything I do related to email, contacts, calendar and tasks syncs across all my devices and I have access to all those things from any device or anywhere in the world. Some people we speak with don’t exactly know everything Outlook is capable of when connected to an exchange server. Others used it within a larger company at one time, but now they’re out on their own in a smaller business, and they think an expensive on-premise exchange server to have all that functionality. For the last several years, several companies have been hosting exchange in the cloud and selling access on a per mailbox basis. Microsoft itself is now in the game, with an offering as low as $4 per month per mailbox. If you’ve got Comcast Business Class internet service, you’ve got 8 free mailboxes! Do it now! You won’t regret it.
For that matter, I’d really like to see you stop using it for personal communication too! It’s probably already too late, but hundreds, if not thousands of your contacts have been coming to know you as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. What happens when you want to change providers? You have to change email addresses. If it’s just for personal use, go grab a free account at gmail.com, hotmail.com, or yahoo.com. Then forward all your mail from your current address to that new one. If you have a company or a brand to represent, you should be using email@example.com. If you’re a really big deal, perhaps your name IS your brand. In that case register a domain like yourlastname.com, and start using firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address.
As an added benefit, you’ll enjoy better redundancy. If you’re currently pulling all your mail OFF the server and into something like Outlook or Thunderbird, you’ll lose all your mail if you lose your computer for any reason. (Fire, flood, theft)…
Big news announced today. After 2 years of making customers wait 3 days for laptop screen repair (awful!), Geek Brigade has secured the necessary inventory in our Greenwood computer repair service center to offer same day laptop screen replacement to 90% of our customers! Check out the link below.
Really excited to launch this website for the Engage Conference today! The Engage team is awesome to work with, and the end result is, in my opinion, spectacular!