Oh no! Your Favorite Technician Just Left …

Oh no! You just found out that your go-to I.T. guy at your Managed Service Provider or Outsourced Help Desk has moved on. He/she knew everything about your quirky system issues and network. Now what?

Surprisingly, many companies don’t really stop to consider continuity of service and employee succession planning when selecting a service provider, and even more surprisingly, not all service providers consider this a key part of their business. What you may not know, but should, is that The Computer Center takes this best practice seriously and considers it essential to providing the superior services you have come to expect from us.

So, if your favorite technician has moved on, what has The Computer Center already done to make sure that Jason or Ben or Michael or Michelle can help me just like Tom did? Our Help Desk Best Practices are as follows:

  • Build processes around making sure that no single employee holds the information “keys to the kingdom” in his or her head, and that any technician on our team can access it when needed.
  • Document, document, document. We document the following for our clients, and then use this documentation to train all our staff, so that anyone can help resolve your issues:
    • IT infrastructure
      • Network / Routers
      • Servers
      • Workstations
      • Printers
      • Backup Devices
      • Equipment vendor
      • User Names and Passwords (especially Administrator roles) – and who has had access to them
    • IT related business processes
      • Backup strategies
      • Processes for documenting IT issues and resolutions
      • Maintaining warranties
      • Software licensing compliance
      • Warranty processes
  • Establish standard processes for the following tasks:
    • Service Ticket creation and issue documentation, from initial reporting through resolution and follow-up
    • Proactive monitoring and regular reporting on:
    • Backups
    • Security
    • Infrastructure
    • Updates, patches, & other issues

As an IT Solution vendor, these are business issues The Computer Center has considered and addressed as a fundamental part of the services we provide. Take a deep breath, we’ve got your back.

Optimize your Facebook Feed

If you are a Facebook junkie like me, you have hundreds of friends and follow hundreds of pages, you may keep seeing the same Facebook post over and over as someone has left a comment, or you miss out on a cool dinner special at your favorite restaurant. (Or what about all those games updates?) Here’s how to create an “interest list” so you can group those Pages and/or Friends so that you can reduce the Facebook clutter. (One caveat, you cannot add Groups to this list, but you can also look at posts within those groups from your sidebar.)

For more click to read Michelle’s instructions:
OptimizeYourFacebookFeed

Creating Secure Passwords That You Can Remember

Due to high visibility security breaches in the news recently like Heartbleed and EBay, it is paramount that you evaluate your methods for creating secure passwords.  Having weak passwords can expose your online accounts to unauthorized use and takeovers.  This is common with public webmail accounts like Yahoo, Gmail and Outlook online (formerly Hotmail).  Often times the attacker will gain access to an account and change the password and verification information like security questions and alternative email addresses.  This makes it very difficult to regain access to your account.

Weak Password Methods

People often use weak password methods because of the burden of trying to remember multiple complex passwords.  Some of the weakest methods use the following:

  • Dictionary words (trains, dogs, golf)
  • Names with numbers appended (john316)
  • Simple changes to words (p@ssw0rd)
  • Well known number sequences or dates (911, 1225)
  • Common keyboard or keypad sequences (qwerty, 12345)
  • Passwords with personal information (address, phone number)

Creating complex passwords does not mean they have to be hard to remember.  Here are some ideas for creating stronger passwords that are easy to remember.

Strong Password Methods

  1. Pick a phrase and use the first letter of each word.
    1. “Are You Ready For Some Football?” could be translated to ayrfsf.
    2. Strengthen this by incorporating capitalization AyRfsF
    3. Further strengthen this with special characters @yRf$F?
    4. To create a similar password for different sites you can add a prefix or suffix like @yRf$F?-Facebook or @yRf$F?-gmail

i.      This also makes the password much longer which is the best way statistically to improve password security.

  1. Stagger words together by choosing two words and intertwining the letters.
    1. Choose two words like “security” and “password”
    2. Alternate with the next letter from each word speacsusrwiotryd
    3. Strengthen this by incorporating capitalization SpEaCsUsRwIoTrYd
    4. Further strengthen this with special characters SpE@CsU$RwI0TrYd!
    5. To create a similar password for different sites you can add a prefix or suffix like SpE@CsU$RwI0TrYd!-Facebook or SpE@CsU$RwI0TrYd!-gmail

i.      Like mentioned before this makes the password much longer which is the best way statistically to improve password security.

  1. Adding spaces to the password (if allowed) also improves the complexity significantly

i.      SpE@CsU$RwI0TrYd! – Facebook or SpE@CsU$RwI0TrYd! – gmail

  1. Some sites don’t let you use special characters.  In these cases do the following:
    1. Make the password as long as possible and use a mix of capital and small letters along with numbers.

i.      N0 Good D33d Goes UnPun1sh3d

Conclusion

Password complexity doesn’t require making passwords that are impossible to remember.  In general not using dictionary words and making passwords with at least 12 characters with complexity greatly improve the quality and security of your passwords.   Finally, changing your passwords at least every 6 months is recommended as long as you don’t take a strong password and change it to a weaker one.  From the examples above you could enumerate these like @yRf$F-Facebook2 or SpE@CsU$RwI0TrYd! – gmail3.  Alternatively, when it is time to change your passwords you can create a new password using any of the methods above.

 

By Shane Linde, Senior Engineer

HeadShot-Shane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Information

The Computer Center
1 Parker Place Suite 655
Janesville, WI 53545
(608) 755-1524
Send Us A Message!
sales@computer-center.com
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
--Albert Einstein

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