Tag: technology

Business ProductivityCorporate ITIT SecuritySoftwareTechnologyWindows
Imminent Retirement of Windows 10

In the realm of technology, change is the only constant. As businesses navigate the digital landscape, staying updated with the latest software and security measures becomes paramount. Microsoft, the juggernaut of operating systems, is set to cease support for Windows 10 after October 14, 2025. This impending deadline should serve as a clarion call for businesses to upgrade their systems promptly. In this article, we delve into the significance of this upgrade, especially concerning factors like HIPAA compliance and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

The End of the Line for Windows 10

Microsoft’s decision to end support for Windows 10 marks the culmination of a remarkable era in operating systems. Since its launch in 2015, Windows 10 has been a stalwart companion for businesses worldwide, offering stability, productivity, and security features. However, every software has a lifecycle, and Windows 10 is no exception.

After October 14, 2025, Microsoft will cease to provide security updates, bug fixes, and technical support for Windows 10. This means that businesses still clinging to this operating system will be left vulnerable to emerging cyber threats, putting their data, operations, and reputation at risk.

HIPAA Compliance: A Non-Negotiable Priority

For businesses operating in sectors like healthcare, compliance with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is non-negotiable. HIPAA sets stringent standards for the protection of patient health information (PHI) and imposes hefty penalties for non-compliance.

Running an outdated operating system like Windows 10 beyond its end-of-support date could result in HIPAA violations. Without regular security updates, businesses may fail to meet the technical safeguards required by HIPAA, exposing sensitive patient data to potential breaches. This not only jeopardizes patient privacy but also invites legal repercussions and reputational damage.

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities: A Looming Threat

Cybersecurity threats evolve at an alarming pace, with hackers constantly probing for vulnerabilities to exploit. Unsupported operating systems like Windows 10 become low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals seeking to infiltrate corporate networks, steal data, or launch disruptive attacks.

With the cessation of security updates, Windows 10 will become increasingly susceptible to malware, ransomware, and other cyber threats. Even the most robust cybersecurity defenses will struggle to mitigate the risks posed by unpatched vulnerabilities in the operating system. For businesses, the potential fallout from a successful cyberattack includes financial losses, operational disruptions, and irreparable damage to brand trust.

The Imperative of Timely Action

Given the stakes involved, procrastination is not an option when it comes to upgrading from Windows 10. Businesses must proactively plan and execute their transition to a supported operating system well before the end-of-support deadline.

Microsoft offers a couple of alternatives to Windows 10, including Windows 11 and subscription-based models like Microsoft 365. These newer platforms not only provide enhanced security features but also offer improved performance, user experience, and compatibility with modern applications.

The Road Ahead: Navigating the Upgrade Process

Upgrading from Windows 10 is not a trivial undertaking, especially for large enterprises with complex IT infrastructures. It requires careful planning, resource allocation, and stakeholder coordination to ensure a smooth transition without disrupting business operations.

Key steps in the upgrade process include:

  1. Assessment and Inventory: Conduct a comprehensive inventory of existing hardware and software to identify compatibility issues and determine upgrade requirements.
  2. Pilot Testing: Deploy test environments to evaluate the compatibility and performance of critical applications and workflows on the new operating system.
  3. Training and Support: Provide training sessions and support resources to help employees adapt to the new operating system and maximize productivity.
  4. Migration Strategy: Develop a phased migration strategy to minimize downtime and mitigate risks, prioritizing mission-critical systems and user groups.
  5. Post-Upgrade Monitoring: Continuously monitor the performance and security of the upgraded systems, implementing patches and updates as necessary to address emerging issues.

The end of support for Windows 10 represents a watershed moment for businesses reliant on this operating system. To safeguard their data, comply with regulations, and fortify their cybersecurity defenses, businesses must prioritize upgrading to a supported platform before the October 14, 2025 deadline.

By embracing the latest technology and security standards, businesses can future-proof their operations, enhance their competitive advantage, and demonstrate their commitment to protecting the interests of their customers and stakeholders. The journey may be challenging, but the rewards of a secure and resilient IT infrastructure are well worth the investment.

 

 

Business ProductivityCorporate ITDigitalInternetIT for the Medical IndustryIT SecurityManaged ITTechnologyUtah IT Company
Do You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan?

If you suddenly lost access to documents and applications pertinent to your daily work life, how would you cope? Would you know where to go, or who to look to for help? Whether the loss occurs because of a natural disaster, hardware failure, human error, or cyber-crimes, a Disaster Recovery Plan (DR) is essential for businesses of all sizes!


A *2023 survey found that only 54% of businesses had an established company-wide disaster recovery plan in place. That is barely more than half of all businesses. Aside from having the plan in place, it’s also important to regularly review and test your plan to ensure your team knows how to execute the strategy. Ponemon Institute estimates the average cost of downtime at a staggering $9,000 per minute or $500,000 per hour. Being able to restore systems and operations quickly is imperative to recovery from a disaster. Those averages might look high for your small business, but the fact is downtime is expensive. It’s not just the direct financial losses but also the expense of lost productivity, missed opportunities, customer dissatisfaction, and long-term reputational damage.

Though most owners believe they are unlikely to suffer a cyber-attack, small businesses suffer 43% of all data breaches. Do you currently have strategies in place to protect your data? A solid DR plan is crucial as it aims to minimize downtime and data loss, enabling a company to swiftly return to normal operations following a catastrophic event. This guide breaks down the various elements of a disaster recovery plan, highlighting their significance and demonstrating real-world scenarios where such planning proves invaluable.

Understanding Disaster Recovery

At its core, disaster recovery involves preparing for and recovering from events that can significantly disrupt business operations. These events range from natural disasters like earthquakes to man-made challenges such as cyber-attacks. A well-structured DR plan addresses these threats by outlining steps to resume critical operations swiftly and securely.

Key Components of a Disaster Recovery Plan
Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis (BIA): This involves understanding a business’s specific risks and potential impact on operations. It helps prioritize the recovery of critical systems and data.

  • Data Backup Strategies: Robust data backup strategies ensure that critical data is regularly backed up to secure, offsite locations, allowing for the restoration of lost data.
  • Recovery Solutions: DR plans must detail the solutions for restoring IT systems, applications, and data, including both on-site and cloud-based options.
  • Communication Plan: A clear plan for notifying employees, customers, and stakeholders during a disaster is vital for maintaining transparency and minimizing panic.
  • Regular Testing and Updates: Regular testing and updates ensure that the plan evolves with the business and remains effective over time.

The Importance of Each Component

Each component of a DR plan plays a critical role in safeguarding business operations. For example, the BIA guides resource allocation during and after a disaster, while data backup strategies prevent catastrophic data loss. Recovery solutions bring data back into action, and the communication plan maintains trust and order. Regular testing guarantees that the plan will work as intended when needed.

Real-World Applications

Consider a business that experiences a severe data breach. With a comprehensive DR plan in place, the company can quickly identify the breach’s extent, revert to recent data backups, and effectively manage customer expectations and regulatory requirements. Regularly tested recovery procedures ensure a swift return to operation, minimizing downtime and financial loss.

The Value of Preparedness

In today’s digital age, disasters are inevitable. The examples above underscore the value of a DR plan, providing a blueprint for action that can mean the difference between a setback and a complete shutdown. Investing in a thorough disaster recovery plan is critical for responsible business management, ensuring resilience, and maintaining trust.

Avoid becoming another cautionary tale of poor planning. Please give us a call. We would be happy to help you implement your disaster recovery plan or review your current plan!

*Statistics are taken from the article “Disaster Recovery Statistics Every Business Should Know.” At https://phoenixnap.com

 

Managed ITTechnologyUtah IT Company
Reliable IT: The Key to Sustained Business Success

Businesses of all sizes rely heavily on technology for streamlining operations, enhancing productivity, and driving growth. Managing IT infrastructure efficiently while staying within budget constraints can be daunting, especially for small businesses. That’s where TEK Utah shines as Utah’s premier managed IT service provider! For the past 20 years, we have offered unparalleled support to small businesses at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a full-time IT employee. By honoring our core values of reliability, responsiveness, accountability, decisiveness, and integrity, we aim to deliver exceptional IT services tailored to each client’s needs.

Living our Values is What Sets us Apart

Our distinctiveness in managed IT services arises from our steadfast commitment to regularly reviewing and embodying our core values. This introspection sets us apart, ensuring our actions align with our principles. Reliability is pivotal among these values because a reliable IT setup is vital for a smooth customer experience.  To support this commitment, we actively seek feedback from our clients, valuing their perspectives as a compass for improvement. By prioritizing reliability and actively engaging with client insights, we not only meet but exceed expectations, fostering a technological environment where our clients can trust in a consistently superior experience.

To ensure the delivery of top-tier service, we are implementing a new support request system. This system will:

  1. Make it easier for clients to submit support requests.
  2. Offer clear communication and documentation for all service requests.
  3. Allow the Client to view the status of the request.
  4. Allow the client to participate in a post-service survey to ensure we exceed expectations.
  5. Provide real-time reports to create greater security, improve performance, and insights to grow your business.

This system will equip clients with the tools to facilitate clear communication of their requests and enable the consolidation of related inquiries, ensuring transparency and prompt responses.

Why Reliability Reduces Costly Risks

Having a managed IT service provider dedicated to reliability is crucial. Businesses rely heavily on their IT infrastructure to maintain operations, support critical functions, and safeguard valuable data. Any disruption or downtime can lead to significant financial losses, tarnished reputations, and lost opportunities. A managed IT service provider like TEK Utah, with an unwavering focus on reliability, offers peace of mind to clients by ensuring that their systems are consistently up and running, minimizing the risk of costly disruptions. By trusting us with their IT needs, clients can focus on their core business objectives, knowing that their technology is in capable hands. A dedicated commitment to reliability isn’t just a luxury—it’s necessary for businesses striving for sustained success in today’s digital age.

How to Leverage Managed IT and Elevate Reliability Today!

As a client:

We’d welcome your feedback on how we’re supporting you through all our values by completing our customer satisfaction survey. Go here!

If you’re ready for your executive technology review, where we’ll perform an audit and provide custom reports and strategies to reduce your bottom line and increase performance, contact us directly. If you’re unsure if you’re eligible for a review, reach out, and we’ll share the options available.

In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on using our enhanced support services and elevate the benefits of reliability in your business!

Not a client yet:

If you’re curious about the benefits TEK Utah can provide for your business, we’ve got you covered! Take advantage of our complimentary consultation, where we’ll review the results of our custom assessment and provide at least one strategy to enhance your IT goals. Get access here!

 

 

AI TechnologyBusiness ProductivityCorporate ITIT SecuritySoftwareTechnologyUtah IT Company
Why Regular IT Reviews are Critical for Your Business Growth and Management

In today’s business landscape, the role of technology is crucial. Ensuring your IT system operations are seamless is paramount for business success. Regular executive technology review meetings play a key role in detecting and addressing potential issues and fortifying a company’s foundation for future growth. There are five main areas of focus in TEK Utah’s technology review, identifying and addressing risks, evaluating hardware and software efficiencies, investing in employee security training, streamlining operations, and planning for future growth. Proactively responding to items revealed in our review meeting will save a business time, money, resources, and potentially a company’s reputation.

Identifying and Addressing Risks

A primary goal of regular IT review meetings is to assess and improve data management and security protocols. In an era where cyber threats are prevalent, safeguarding sensitive information is essential. IT reviews provide a platform to examine existing security measures, identify vulnerabilities, and implement solutions. Proactively addressing potential risks helps companies avoid data breaches, protecting their assets and reputation.

Sometimes IT security can be as simple as setting stronger passwords. Recently, a local business encountered a security breach within its email system. An unauthorized individual gained access to the administrator account, primarily due to the absence of multifactor authentication and the use of overly simple passwords. The intruder then created a new user account to impersonate the business owner, attempting to defraud the company financially. The breach was only discovered when a vigilant vendor flagged a suspicious email.

A routine check-up would have helped prevent this security incident. Regular IT reviews are the perfect time to assess security measures and identify potential weaknesses that could lead to substantial financial losses. Outside of regular reviews we offer cyber security products to help ensure your systems are secure. Check out this video where we address three key solutions for your business’s security needs.

Evaluating Hardware and Software Infrastructure

Outdated hardware and software can hinder productivity and expose a company to security risks. Regular IT reviews allow decision-makers to evaluate the current technological landscape, identifying areas that require upgrades or replacements. Investing in the latest hardware and software solutions optimizes performance, reduces downtime, and enhances efficiency.

Not long ago a client suffered severe data loss due to a failed hard drive. The user was not backing up their data externally, and unfortunately, crucial information was lost and unable to be recovered. While this incident did not permanently cripple the business, it highlighted a critical oversight. This issue could have easily been avoided had the user been regularly backing up their data. It’s easy to overlook backend systems because they are not meant to be in the foreground. However, a routine IT review is the perfect time to look in the background at all the systems that we take for granted and make changes where necessary.

Investing in Employee Training

The strength of a company often lies in its employees, but human error can be a vulnerability. “A joint study by Stanford University Professor Jeff Hancock and security firm Tessian found that a whopping 88 percent of data breach incidents are caused by employee mistakes” (https://securitytoday.com/articles/2022/07/30/just-why-are-so-many-cyber-breaches-due-to-human-error). It doesn’t matter how robust your security measures are if your employees are opening the door for attackers. Regular IT review meetings offer an opportunity to assess employee skill sets and identify areas for additional training. Investing in ongoing training programs ensures that staff members are well-equipped to navigate the evolving technological landscape, reducing the likelihood of errors and enhancing overall IT system effectiveness.

Streamlining Operations and Reducing Inefficiencies

Efficiency is crucial for success in any business. Regular reviews enable executives to scrutinize IT processes, identify bottlenecks, and streamline operations. By eliminating inefficiencies, companies can save time and resources, redirecting them towards more strategic endeavors that contribute to overall growth. Whether your business is ready or not, AI is fast becoming the key to increased productivity, and if your business is not equipped, you’ll be leaving profits on the table. But you’re in luck we recently added AI training to our list of services. This training is completely customizable and may be just what your company needs to update and enhance your processes. Read our blog article to Unlock your Business success through AI.

Planning for Future Growth

Businesses are dynamic entities, and their IT infrastructure must align with future growth plans. Regular IT review meetings provide a strategic forum to discuss and plan for future technological requirements. Whether it’s scaling up existing systems, implementing new technologies, or expanding digital capabilities, a proactive approach ensures that IT infrastructure evolves in tandem with the company’s broader objectives.

How can you save time, money, and resources?

The practical significance of regular IT review meetings is undeniable. By addressing critical areas such as data management, security, hardware and software improvements, employee training, and operational inefficiencies, these meetings contribute to significant savings in time, money, and resources. Moreover, they act as a shield for a company’s reputation, preventing potential setbacks caused by data breaches or technological failures.

In the fast-paced world of business, staying ahead requires a vigilant eye on the technological pulse. Executive IT review meetings serve as a practical measure and empower companies to thrive in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Prevention is key, and in the realm of IT, it translates to sustained success and growth.

Click here to schedule your executive technology review meeting.

Not a client yet? Click to schedule your free assessment and consultation!

 

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Unlocking Small Business Success with ChatGPT Tutorial
Unlocking Small Business Success with ChatGPT: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

In today’s fast-paced digital world, small businesses need every advantage they can get to stay competitive. One powerful tool that’s been gaining traction is ChatGPT, a remarkable AI technology that can revolutionize the way you interact with customers, manage your time, and enhance your overall business operations. In this blog post, we’ll dive into what ChatGPT is, its advantages for small businesses, and provide you with a step-by-step tutorial on how to set it up.

 

Chat GPT

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence language model developed by OpenAI. It’s designed to understand and generate human-like text based on the input it receives. Essentially, it’s a chatbot that can engage in conversations, answer questions, and even assist with tasks, making it a versatile tool for small businesses.

Advantages for Small Businesses

Now, let’s explore the benefits of incorporating ChatGPT into your small business:

24/7 Availability: ChatGPT can handle customer inquiries and support requests round the clock, ensuring that you never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience.

Cost-Effective Customer Service: It can reduce the need for dedicated customer support staff, saving you money while maintaining a high level of service.

Improved Marketing: ChatGPT can generate creative and persuasive marketing copy, helping you craft compelling ad campaigns and product descriptions.

Sales Assistance: It can assist with sales inquiries, recommend products or services, and guide potential customers through the purchase process.

Enhanced Productivity: By automating routine tasks and answering common questions, ChatGPT frees up your time to focus on more strategic aspects of your business.

Data Insights: It can analyze customer interactions to provide valuable insights into customer preferences and behavior.


Setting Up ChatGPT: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Step 1: Getting Started

First, you need to choose a platform. There are quite a few different AI platforms, the one we will be using is ChatGPT. You can access it at the following URL: HTTPS://chat.openai.com

Step 2: Sign Up

Create an account on the platform and follow the registration process. Ensure you have the necessary permissions and access.   Once you’ve signed up, you can either use the free version of  chat GPT, or you can pay for the premium access which gives you access to many more things.

Step 3: Understand Prompts

In ChatGPT, you communicate with the model using prompts. A prompt is a message, question  Or series of instructions and guidelines that you send to the AI, and it generates a response based on that input.

Step 4: Creating Basic Prompts

To create a basic prompt, simply type a message or question in the chatbox and click  the arrow “Send message.” ChatGPT will generate a response based on your input.

Step 5: Using Basic Prompts

You can use prompts for various purposes, such as answering customer queries, generating content, or even drafting emails. Experiment with different prompts to see what works best for your business.

Check out this step-by-step video!


Here are a few examples to get you started:

“Can you provide a brief overview of our product given the following information?”,  provide information about your product.

“Write a blog post about the benefits of our services. Our services include….”

“Help me draft a response to a customer complaint.  The customer complaint is as follows.”,  copy the customer complaint  here.

Now that you’ve learned the basics, here are ten practical ways you can leverage ChatGPT to enhance your small business:

Email Drafting: Quickly compose professional emails and responses.

Content Generation: Generate blog post ideas, headlines, and even full articles.

Social Media Posts: Craft engaging social media captions and posts.

Market Research: Get insights into market trends and customer preferences.

Lead Generation: Create engaging lead generation forms and scripts.

Content Analysis: Content analysis and research and providing summaries.

FAQs and Customer Support: Automate responses to frequently asked questions.

Product Recommendations: Help customers find the right products or services.

Sales Scripts: Create persuasive sales scripts and objection-handling responses.

Data Analysis: Analyze customer interactions to make data-driven decisions.


TEK Utah’s Expertise in ChatGPT

At TEK Utah, we’ve been at the forefront of AI and ChatGPT adoption since its inception. Our team has advanced skills in harnessing the power of AI to drive small business success. We’re thrilled to offer one-hour or more consult and training sessions that can be customized to your needs, whether in-person or virtual.

For a limited time, take advantage of our special offer: Save $50 on your first hour of consultation when scheduled by December 15, 2023. Simply use the coupon code – AINOW – at checkout. If you’re ready to take your small business to the next level with ChatGPT, reach out to us for more details or click here to get started. Click here to reserve your consult or training session. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to supercharge your small business with the power of AI.

Embrace ChatGPT and watch your productivity soar, your marketing efforts thrive, and your customer service goals reach new heights. The future of small business success is here, and it starts with ChatGPT!

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Elevate women’s voices and encourage diverse perspectives

What are you doing to elevate women’s voices and encourage diverse perspectives?

You may be aware that International Women’s Day was celebrated this month and that  March is National Women’s History Month. You may be thinking, “why should I care? There is a national day for celebrating just about everything under the sun, national dog day, national donut day, national pecan sandies day.” It is a bit much. However, many important reasons exist for celebrating International Women’s Day and National Women’s History month.

We have come a long way since the 1920s when after nearly a century of activism, women were granted the right to vote. In the 1980s, National Women’s History Week was proclaimed with presidential and congressional support. Until then, women’s history was virtually an unknown topic, and female contributions were largely disregarded. The focus on women’s history brought to light many fascinating women who have profoundly impacted our society. For example, did you know that the first computer programmer was a woman named Ada Lovelace. In the 1800s, she was mentored by Charles Babbage who is credited for creating the first computer. She translated an article on Babbage’s analytical engine from French to English and included several pages of her own thoughts and ideas on the machine. She described how codes could be created and theorized a process known as looping that computer programs use today.

Elevate Women's Voices

The focus on women’s history apprises us of the contributions of many women throughout the years. Women like Katherine Johnson who executed critical space calculations to ensure safe space travel and Adele Goldberg who developed some of the world’s most notable programming languages. Despite so many significant IT contributions by women, the field of technology is greatly lacking in female representation. According to unwomen.org “women make up only 22 percent of artificial intelligence workers globally.” This fact didn’t bother me until I learned that after analyzing 133 AI systems worldwide they found that 44.2 percent demonstrated gender bias. If AI is the voice of the future, then we need more female voices involved. It’s not progress if the equality that so many have diligently fought for regresses.

Several years ago, I read an interesting article in Y magazine entitled “When women don’t speak”. The article followed a study by the Gender and Civic Engagement Lab at BYU. The study followed the female experience in a top-10 predominately male collegiate accounting program. They found in group settings, women spoke less, were interrupted more, and were not listened to as much. The environment doesn’t have to be hostile for this to be the case, either. Both men and women reported loving their groups; however, cultural norms and gendered messages profoundly impacted the rules of engagement. They found that it took a supermajority of women, 4 out of 5, before women had equal speaking time as men. Society has shaped our views on gender and the roles associated with that gender. And it is not just men that shape the experience; women are equally to blame. The article suggests ways we can elevate women’s voices.

First, being aware of this interesting dynamic can elicit change, and men can practice listening more intentionally. It’s also vitally important that women speak up. Sometimes all it takes is one voice to get the ball rolling. Having a mentor to pattern this behavior emboldens women to share their thoughts. Showing positive support, welcoming participation, and validating ideas goes a long way to encouraging voices. Leaders can take an active role in ensuring everyone has a turn and equal speaking time. Finally, modeling respectful communication at home and pointing out unhealthy interactions at school or in the media will help us to change the cultural norms that silence women.

When I started working with TEK Utah I didn’t really know what I was doing. I fumbled through the best I could, but it wasn’t until Eric hired his business coach, René (Power Zone Coaching), that I started to find my place. From the beginning, René pushed me to share my thoughts and opinions. She modeled confidence and encouraged the whole team to be our best selves. At first, I felt like I didn’t have the experience or authority to contribute. But she didn’t relent, and it didn’t take long before I felt empowered to speak up and share my ideas. Eric has been amazing to work with because he welcomes my perspective and validates my views. Working for TEK Utah has been rewarding. Our tagline, “your success is our success” is not only true for our clients but our team as well. My growth has helped TEK Utah and vis versa. There may have been stumbles as I learned to work with QuickBooks and had coaching sessions with René to help get things in order. But my experience has given the company direction, we are more organized, and our team functions at a higher level, which allows TEK Utah to provide our clients with better service. As we have worked to create and lean into the company values, it has been exciting to watch our growth. We have welcomed regular feedback from our clients by participating in our satisfaction survey. The results have allowed us to find areas where we excel and have been a way to open up communication, learn from our client’s experience, and improve our services.

Empowering others to share their perspectives helps us to be more successful at what we do and continually improve our offerings. Anyone who has ever worked in a group setting can appreciate the value of looking at things from multiple angles. It creates possibilities that would otherwise be unavailable. This month as the world celebrates International Women’s Day, and National Women’s History Month, let’s put in the effort to effect positive change. Embolden those around us to live their best selves, elevate silent voices by listening and encouraging contributions, provide uplifting support, and inspire confidence. We will be rewarded with the opportunity to see things from new angles and have our minds opened to greater opportunities.

Author, Jenny Hodges, Executive Administrator, TEK Utah

Additional references can be found here: Ada Lovelace, Katherine Johnson, Adele Goldberg