Cyber Liability Insurance

One of the biggest stories of 2017 has been the cyber-attacks that have hit 74 countries bringing business activities to a halt.  Also think back to 2013 when Target was infiltrated and card information for more than 70 million people was at risk.

Luckily, Target had over $100 million of cyber liability insurance because the nightmare could have been worse.

 

Cyber attack liability insurance

 

As technology becomes increasingly important for successful business operations, the value of a strong cyber liability insurance policy will only continue to grow. The continued rise in the amount of information stored and transferred electronically has resulted in a remarkable increase in the potential exposures facing businesses. In an age where a stolen laptop or hacked account can instantly compromise the personal data of thousands of customers, or an ill-advised post on a social media site can be read by hundreds in a matter of minutes, protecting yourself from cyber liability is just as important as some of the more traditional exposures businesses account for in their general commercial liability policies.

Why Cyber Liability Insurance?

Commercial property and commercial theft policies can cover damage to your tangible property, none of these will provide coverage for loss of data, which is considered intangible. Intangible property values often far outweigh tangible property, making cyber liability coverage a no-brainer if you maintain a strong online presence or handle a customer’s private information.

A typical cyber liability policy can help protect you from costs associated with a data breach, copyright or trademark infringement, data loss due to natural disasters or hacking and business interruption.

Cyber liability insurance is specifically designed to address the risks that come with using modern technology; risks that other types of business liability coverage simply won’t. The level of coverage your business needs is based on your individual operations and can vary depending on your range of exposure.

Branch Benefits Consultants, Your Coverage Guide

this guest post provided by Branch Benefits Consultants.

As reliance on technology continues to increase, new exposures continue to emerge. As your business grows, make sure your cyber liability coverage grows with it. Branch Benefits Consultants is here to help you analyze your needs and make the right coverage decisions to protect your operations from unnecessary risk. Contact us @ 702.646.2082 or qbranch@bbc-ins.com for a customized consultation.

The Cloud- Hosted, Hybrid, On-Prem, as a Service (aaS), What does it all mean to your business?

Business owners are presented with an increasingly broad set of business solutions, and decision-making, for technology and tech services. Understanding the basics can create clear parameters, even for non-technology decision-makers.

First, the cloud is simply someone else’s computer. If you learn nothing else from this article please understand that when you hear someone talking about the cloud, all they are talking about is renting the use of someone else’s computer on a monthly, per-user, or a resource basis.

What is the cloud?

Secondly, a program that your business may have run entirely from a server or servers sitting in your office (or not run because it is too expensive for you to run yourself), is now running in a data center on someone else’s server. This means, a company who in years past may have been a software provider, is now a cloud application provider. They are responsible for making sure the software runs, and the servers are up and working.

For more than a decade we at PC911 have provided information technology advisory and consulting services to small businesses, and have seen tremendous change during that time. For example, ten years ago, there was no such thing as “the cloud”–and just five years ago Microsoft was offering a license for software called “Small Business Server”. This bundle took some otherwise unaffordable software–including most importantly Microsoft Exchange–and made it very affordable for a small business owner. Microsoft Exchange was, and is, THE STANDARD when it comes to email. In fact, before the world of Gmail, if you were in business, and you had your own domain for email, i.e. Me@mybusiness.com, it was on Microsoft Exchange.

Fast forward to today, and Microsoft has stopped selling Small Business Server–under the theory that small businesses had better things to do than run their own Exchange servers–and, also, Microsoft happens to be really good at running Exchange servers, since it’s their software. This means that now, instead of buying that license, you pay Microsoft to run Exchange on their server every month, per user, paying for only what you use, and they do all the “stuff” to keep it running for you. This service is one piece of a complete business cloud package that Microsoft calls “Office 365”. Properly evaluating your business’s needs, installing, and maintaining a customized suite of products is an important to maximizing the utility of the products and generating the highest return on this important investment. Some businesses will want to find outside support for this, and the best choice is often with a certified third-party provider.

PC911 is a Microsoft certified CSP, or Cloud Solution Provider, this means our team has passed certification and has a sufficient depth of understanding of Microsoft’s Cloud products that they Microsoft feels confident that we can help a small businesses with their Office 365 options.

To help understand the cost and pricing shifts resulting from moving Exchange to the cloud, consider this: Microsoft Exchange online via Office 365 costs $4 per user per month, while back in 2010 you could get a well configured Dell Server with a 3 year warranty running Small Business Server, for 15 users for between $4000-$5000. Running Exchange is not the only thing that would necessarily run on this server, but this gives us a frame of reference.

Microsoft/Office 365 is just one example of thousands of software providers who have moved their businesses to the cloud. In the software/application/cloud business world there are four very common terms that business owners need to understand as they describe some basic functionality of the software or service that are being purchased. They describe where the application is resting, and may also describe the method of billing that will be employed.

 

types of cloud services

Here are the 4 terms and some basic definitions:

On-Prem, or On-Premise:

This is an application or program that runs from a server or computer sitting in your office. Most often it is a case where a program is running on a server and a piece of client software is used to connect and access the data on the server. A great example of this is QuickBooks, most people know QuickBooks as a piece of software that runs from one computer or server in their office, that is then accessed from a desktop using QuickBooks software. This allows multiple users to access and modify the QuickBooks information at the same time. Quickbooks Pro is approximately $199 and that is for one-user using the software. Intuit, the maker of Quickbooks also offers an online version that is comparable, however is lacking some features, that is called Quickbooks Essentials Online that is sold for $40 per month.

Hosted:

A hosted application, program, or service is a true cloud solution and means that all application and data are in the cloud. These services are connected to, and used, either directly through a web browser such as Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer or through an application, or app, designed to give you an interface to the data/program.

One great example of a hosted app for businesses is Docusign. Docusign is a company that provides a service where you as a business upload a document you need a client to sign, the Docusign service sends an email, the signer reviews the document in a browser and signs the document–all on their screen. It has the same legal force as signing a document with pen and paper, and eliminates printing/signing/faxing/scanning/emailing back. All of this is done through a browser window or app, the users never have to set up a server, or manage one. Docusign offers their services for anywhere from $10-$40 per month depending on what type of user you are and what type of business you are in.

Hybrid:

A Hybrid Cloud solution is where an application or data is available both locally on the computer without an internet connection and available online as well. One of the most common hybrid solution providers that people use is Dropbox. Dropbox is amazingly convenient for storing files as well as sharing those files and collaborating with others. As any Dropbox user will tell you, one of the coolest features of Dropbox is that it keeps copies of all your files on all of your devices, and ensures the files have the latest versions. Dropbox for Business runs anywhere from $12.50-$25.00 per user per month depending on the length of service you choose, as well as how much storage you need.

as a Service (aaS):

One of the biggest buzzwords sweeping technology and IT service providers is ITaaS, or Information Technology as a Service. With the advent of cloud services, IT service providers all across the country like PC911 have begun to offer a different business model to their small and medium business clients. ITaaS is a new business model that takes all of your combined IT expenses, including hardware such as computers, printers and monitors as well as all of your expenses for cloud, user support/help desk, and maintenance and roll them into one all-inclusive fixed price. This gives you as a small business all of the IT services you need for every employee at a predictable price every single month. Pricing on a per-user basis makes this model easier for businesses to know what an employee costs them every month, and how much it will cost to add an employee.

The great thing for a small business is that these plans can be customized to include as little or as much of your IT business support needs, as you want. This means that if you want new computers for your employees every three years, with all the software and support you need, and you don’t want to own the computers at the end of three years, you don’t have to. At one fixed monthly per user cost your employees can have brand new desktops or laptops every three years without any up-front capital expenses.

Ultimately, one of the key things that can help a small business owner the most in navigating the cloud, and their own individual IT needs, is having an informed, and well-trained technology advocate in their corner helping them to evolve their business in today’s digital age. In Las Vegas and Henderson, PC911 has trained technicians and business consultants standing by to help you make sound decisions, maximize your business’s potential, and lower your costs, while leveraging the technological advancements like the cloud.

Give us a call today (702) 309-1911 so we can help you navigate the promise, and perils, of technological change and let us be your technology advocates!

Why your Small Business Needs a Technology Advocate

The Las Vegas and Henderson business markets are very tough on small and medium businesses. There are a 1001 pitfalls out there everyday that a business owner or manager can run into that can cause delays or loss in revenue.  From someone up the street crashing into a pole and taking your power and internet with it, to a weekend flood from a toilet that turned into a major disaster because it wasn’t discovered until Monday. You receive emails everyday promising everything from free money, to cheap money, to better service for a cheaper price.

As a system integrator we get calls everyday for an “IT guy in Las Vegas” or “a low voltage wiring person in Henderson”, and people have come to expect just one thing from one company. They expect those things because frankly, that is what every other company has offered them service-wise. When we get those calls, we try and take a different tact; we try to send out a technology advocate.

Technology AdvocateWhat is a Technology Advocate?

What is a technology advocate you might ask?  A technology advocate is someone who understands the entire breadth of a problem. For example when you send a technology advocate out to do a demarc extension, he will investigate all the wiring and the conduit at the location and ensure that a demarc extension needs to actually be run, he will ID the wiring in the closet, to make sure that you don’t already have the cabling in place to hook up your T-1 or router.

Or, for instance what if you are an out of town IT company who needs someone to be hands-on for you because even though you manage 95% remote you need someone to touch and feel. Wouldn’t you want that person to be educated about wiring and routers and switches and how they function and interact?

A technology advocate not only replaces your IT company, they also serve a teaching role. Their job is to make sure your employees and you as the owner are safe and secure with all your technology everywhere you go.

Examples of Technology Training

So, when you hear all the time, “don’t use public wifi,” if there is not an educational component that goes along with it, it is meaningless. This is where a technology advocate can step in and give you the full picture. No you should never use public wifi, it is dangerous. Other people on the wifi, as well as the provider of the wifi can potentially see anything you do on public wifi. However if you use a VPN that is set to go back to your office you can generally ensure that your data is safe and secure. A VPN setup to your office is inexpensive, and a sure way to keep yourself digitally clean when you are on the road.  If you don’t have access to a VPN a better way than using public wifi is to turn your hotspot service on your smartphone on and use the wifi from that to do what you need to do.

A digital advocate is definitely not a break/fix service, or even a common IT company. A digital advocate will learn about your business, and the more they learn the more they can teach you about how technology can safely make your company and employees more efficient. Technology advocates can suggest  helpful ideas from what business router is best, to software shortcuts, or even cloud services that can really impact a small business’ bottom line.

Do you need an “IT guy” or “IT Company” in Las Vegas or Henderson? Maybe you really need a technology advocate give our offices at PC911, a call and at (702) 309-1911 and lets talk about what technology can do for you.

What Can An IT Service Company Really Do For Your Business?

What can a Small IT Service Company like PC911/Las Vegas Low Voltage do for your business?

Be Your Technology guru for both office and home

A small business owner’s home is really just an extension of their offices. Everyday when you go home you bring your work home with you. So, firstly ensuring that you have all the connectivity to your offices that you need is a must. There are many ways to handle that, but a VPN is critical to ensuring that the communications between your home and office are completely private. Now that the essentials are covered, a GREAT IT service company will also handle what others may consider the little things, your home security and surveillance, your home theater and TV systems, making sure you have Wi-Fi available in ALL parts of your house. These are the things that make your life easier when you are trying to relax and enjoy and any good IT service provider will not only cover these things, they will be licensed contractors to make sure they can legally do them for you.

Help educate you and your staff

With the way technology is changing you and your staff need someone who keeps current with everything going on with networking, computers, telephony, and technology over all. Just telling you and your employees not to use public Wi-Fi is not enough, our job is to educate you how to be mobile and secure, to make doing the things you need to do more convenient. Your IT service company should be contributing to the knowledge of all aspects of your small business.

Learn about your business so we can make processes more efficient

Sometimes lost in the shuffle of being an IT company for small businesses is the doing the most basic job you were hired to do, help make the business more efficient.  How does your IT service company make your business more efficient? By first learning about your business, how it functions, the processes that make you work.  We can then suggest software, changes in hardware, or even just tweaks to how you use your existing software. For example, we recently had a new client who had an employee who spent half of their day scanning and emailing documents to the same three people. They were using an older multifunction scanner, scanning the document to a drive, then going to that drive in a computer and sending an email. We helped them get an inexpensive dedicated document scanner, configured it to scan to email and save in the proper folder at the same time, and the employee gained a full hour in their day to work on something else.

Above all else, help make sure your business is running everyday

The more we learn about you and your business, the more we understand what makes your business tick. Understanding pain points in your processes will ensure that we can make sure every critical system is up and available for you 24/7, and making sure that a backup plan is in place so all of your critical IT infrastructure is available when and how you need it.

All of the above is what large businesses EXPECT out of their IT departments, as a small business every dollar you spend is critical so getting all of the IT services you need, whether you have 2 or 20 employees is equally critical. Your location doesn’t matter either, whether you are in Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, or Pahrump, practical, friendly, and reliable IT support service is just a phone call away.

Give PC911 a call today at (702) 309-1911 and let us exceed your expectations for what an IT service company can provide.

Managed IT Services in Las Vegas

Managed IT Services is the evolution of business to business partnerships for the use of technological products for business value. IT as a Service (ITaaS) is, therefore, the arrangement whereby a business/company’s information technology solutions are provided and managed by a dedicated IT professional company. ITaaS or Managed IT services is outsourced IT service and solutions delivered to your business by another business specializing in IT solutions for firms. A managed IT service allows you to gain access to proactively managed information technology including software and other end-user systems.

ITaaS does not mean relying exclusively on cloud computing as some believe. It is a business model for enabling all facets of information technology. In essence, it provides you with an outsourced Chief Information Officer (CIO) responsible for helping you to align your technology services with your business needs for improved business performance.

IT services are necessary for your business to function optimally. Managing your own IT services can be a daunting task when you are a business person who needs to be focusing on the core business functions necessary for making a profitable business. You, therefore, need to have access to qualified professionals actively managing your IT solutions, especially in the current climate of increasing cyber crimes and cyber threats. You can get overwhelmed trying to manage it all, especially if you are a small to medium sized business.

With ITaaS you are able to focus on your business and leave the IT to be managed by a qualified service provider. Managed IT Services with the right provider will put your business IT needs in good hands that lead to your peace of mind and improved business efficiency. Managed services simplify your business processes and leave you with more time to focus on your business.

As a business already operating without a dedicated IT department, you are in optimal position to take advantage of the benefits of managed IT services. In Las Vegas with its abundance of small and medium-sized businesses, it has become necessary for these businesses to consider outsourcing the management of their IT solutions. Take a look at your business, your options and decide if a managed IT service is the right solution for you.

If you are interested in assessing managed IT services for you Las Vegas business, then contact PC911 to discuss the options available for your business needs.

Choosing the Right IT Consulting Partner for Your Business

You are a business owner with many different roles in the management of your business. Sometimes you will take on the cap of manager or accountant or salesperson. One cap that may be difficult to wear though is that of IT technician. Of course, you are able to undertake some of your IT requirements but learning all that is necessary to maintain a full IT system can be a daunting task. Learning to set up your own network and commissioning your servers, enabling your network security and virus protection, and other tasks can require a more detailed skill set than you currently have.

You need IT expertise in and for your Las Vegas business. You cannot afford the added expense of hiring IT staff and the time for managing an additional department/person to take care of your IT needs. You are worried about trying to outsource your IT services because you have heard all the horror stories of freelance IT professionals who deliver less than optimal service that cost the businesses more in the long run. There is a solution for you and it is an Information Technology (IT) consulting firm.

IT consulting from a reputable and reliable firm helps you to sift through the myriad of technological options to choose the ones for your business success. An IT consultant can help you decide between server applications, email options, hardware choices, just to name a few.

Online and on-site consulting mean that you have access to world-class professional service at every hour of the day to ensure that your business stays up and running. Remote IT consulting helps you get more out of your business IT infrastructure whether it be hardware or software services and solutions.

Your IT Consultant will be the one the best investments and partnerships you could make for your business. It is important that you get it right on the first try. Even if you do not know the full scope of the project that you wish to undertake, a good IT consultant can take your requirements and recommend the best solutions for you. Your consultant should, therefore, be a creative problem solver with solid experience.

PC911 understands the issues that you face trying to decide on a company. PC911 IT consulting services ensure that you are given advice that leads to the choice of the best solutions or service for your business and not just for you to spend. We are sensitive to the need to keep costs down. Our IT consulting is geared at providing service and solutions to help your Las Vegas business achieve its goals. Contact us today and let us begin this process together.

Why Do Business With a Las Vegas IT Services or Security Vendor

In today’s marketplace with the sweeping technological changes taking place at an almost alarming rate it is becoming even more critical that you, as someone who owns or manages a small business, have a reliable competent IT and security vendor.  Keeping up with technology is an impossible task for someone who doesn’t have a passion for it, and almost all business owners I have met, have a passion for their families and businesses.

Having long-term IT employees on-staff, is a huge advantage for us as a local provider over a national company. All of our employees are full time, provided health care and benefits, and ongoing education. We believe that investing in our employees means we are investing in our customers, that is a culture and a philosophy that is hard to come by in a nationwide company and to us it means our employees are happier and more productive and they deliver a better experience to our customers.

Most nationwide IT/Security providers do not have a local presence outside of a few major markets.  What they do is bid on jobs, then when they receive the job they call a whole bunch of local companies to get the job done.  How do I know this, well I am on the receiving end of that phone call at least once a day.

This means they do not understand the different challenges associated with each building type and/or neighborhood within the local market.

For instance, I read the local paper the Las Vegas Review Journal every morning, and I receive crime statistic emails by neighborhood from both the Metro Police Department, as well as the North Las Vegas Police Department.  When we get a client call asking for a security survey for their business, whether it be surveillance, alarm or access control, we understand everything that has gone on and is going on in their neighborhood, and therefore we can make informed recommendations based on the customers security level needs.  It would be impossible for me to realistically do that for more than our own market here in Las Vegas, and frankly I do it as a concerned resident as much as I do it from a business standpoint.

Most nationwide providers in say the alarm business have a system, that is the system they sell to all their franchises and it is what their franchises are allowed to sell under their franchise agreement.  So the job of the employee at that provider is to fit you into their system.  At PC911/Las Vegas Low Voltage, we work with three different alarm system manufacturers, and at least 10 different alarm accessory providers, this makes it easy to build an alarm system around our customer’s needs.

The above examples make it easy to see why going local, with local knowledge and expertise can be the key to a successful project. Whether you are a local small business owner yourself, or a larger company with a branch office here in Las Vegas,  the combination of PC911 and Las Vegas Low Voltage is the right choice for your commercial security or IT needs in the Las Vegas Valley.

SoTel Systems, LLC Finalizes Reseller Agreement with PC911

Maryland Heights, MO (Date) – SoTel Systems, a supplier of IP PBX hardware, SIP trunking, and secondary market equipment, is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with PC911 to resell the Epygi to end users throughout the Las Vegas Area marketplace.  This strategic alliance will allow PC 911 to increase market share and strengthen SoTel’s service offering within this marketplace.

If your computer crashes and burns, PC911 will ride its ambulance to rescue

Chad Stone doesn't want to save the world.

But he does want to save computers and do his part for clean air by using emergency vehicles powered by vegetable oil.

His company, PC911, got its name from the emergency number for police, fire and ambulance service. It provides emergency service, sometimes in the same day, for ailing personal computers.

By JOHN G. EDWARDS
Las Vegas Review-Journal
PDF

Chad Stone doesn't want to save the world.

But he does want to save computers and do his part for clean air by using emergency vehicles powered by vegetable oil.

His company, PC911, got its name from the emergency number for police, fire and ambulance service. It provides emergency service, sometimes in the same day, for ailing personal computers.

Stone doesn't mind if he stirs gossip in the neighborhood when his ambulance arrives and he rolls out computer parts on a stretcher. He relies on word-of-mouth for advertising.

He started his education as a computer nerd at age 5 when his parents bought their first personal computer. He took it apart. Then he put it back together.

He got advanced training at age 10 when his parents bought a mainframe computer for the family's wholesale produce company in Los Angeles.

Stone, 32, has been in business for 18 months, but he's already planning to expand to Phoenix and Dallas.

Question: How did you develop your expertise in computers?

Answer: When I was 5 years old, my parents bought their first computer. I turned the computer on and the screen was like a whole new world. I took my screwdriver, and I took the whole thing apart because I wanted to know how it worked. I had to put it back together.

In 1985, my family deployed their first mainframe in the wholesale produce business. We had green screens on desks, and you had one big tower in the back that everything connected to. I was 10 years old, and I wanted a computer name and a password because I wanted to play with it.

Question: Did you tear that one apart, too?

Answer: Absolutely. I did software work. At 10 years old, I was learning accounting concepts that I probably forgot already today.

Question: How often did you work on the computer?

Answer: Once a week, once a month, however many times they let me ditch school so that I could go down and play with stuff.

On the weekends, my brother and I would sit in front of a computer and play computer games. It let me get my hands on stuff that no one would let a 10-year-old touch in a million years. I later had formal training as a Microsoft certified systems engineer.

Question: What did you do after graduating from high school?

Answer: I worked for The Good Guys in Las Vegas from 1996 to 1997 as a salesman and computer technician. (The electronics retail chain was bought by CompUSA in 2003 and now no longer exists). The store manager went to work for (the company now known as Mpower Communications) and brought me with him.

We were the first company to deploy voice over digital subscriber line service. I was on that deployment team.

We have special contacts with (cable TV provider) Cox (Communications). We have special contacts at the phone company. We can get down to the problem much quicker (than consumers).

Question: What next?

Answer: Then, I worked for Jerry Airola (an unsuccessful candidate for Clark County sheriff) when he owned a water purification company. I designed and built a 220-seat voice over Internet (Protocol) call center in 30 days.

Jerry called me back up and I did the (information technology) infrastructure for 24 training locations out of state (for Airola's Silver State Helicopters). They track all their training, all their (students' flight) hours, all their instructors, all their fuel, inventory tracking. There is a distance-learning program. We didn't build that until much later.

Question: You said you then went on your own. How did that happen?

Answer: I said (to Airola): "I've been doing this for you for a long time. Now, I think I can do this for myself." I left on very good terms. I got in my pickup truck and started doing jobs and finding customers in February 2006. I was spending two or three hours a day going out and picking up parts for people. I started carrying stuff in my pickup, and it got to be overwhelming.

Buying a used, beat-up truck cost $14,000, which is outrageous. I came up with the idea for the ambulance. I've got one that cost me $2,100 up to $7,100. I bought the first two on eBay.

Question: Do you use the lights?

Answer: I had a run-in right at the beginning with the Nevada State Highway Patrol. The officer is, like, you know I can take a hammer by law and break all your (red light) lenses. So we replaced them with clear lenses. We can run the lights, but we can't run the siren.

(The ambulances) have flood lights. If you get night jobs, you can make the place look like a baseball stadium. It's also got its own built-in generator.

Question: Do the ambulances help you advertise?

Answer: The ambulances are moving billboards. When I signal with the ambulance, people let me in (other lanes of traffic). It's the nicest thing.

When we go to Sun City, it's this swarm (when we stop at a customers' house) of 15 people to see what's going on. The residents wonder, "Is my neighbor sick?"

Question: How many ambulances do you have?

Answer: Three. Two run on vegetable oil. The third one will be converted year's end.

Question: Why do you use vegetable oil for fuel?

Answer: When we started (the first ambulance), there were (diesel) smog clouds. I wasn't happy.

My wife is from Canada. I'm from Los Angeles. I guess we're kind of greenies. We both believe it is the smaller businesses that will make the difference (in the environment). If we depend on the larger businesses (to go green), we're going to be waiting forever.

The conversion cost us about $1,200 for each vehicle. They can still run on diesel fuel.

Question: What are the environmental benefits?

Answer: Sixty percent less carbon monoxide emissions. Zero sulfur emissions.

It's waste product we're burning. I'm not supporting the Middle East. I'm supporting my restaurant. He's got to get rid of this waste oil, and he's going to dump it anyway or pay to have it picked up by a processing company. I tell the restaurants, if you give me your oil, I'll give you a deal on your computer services.

Question: How many gallons do you use?

Answer: We're probably bringing in 70 gallons or 80 gallons a week right now. That ambulance was getting 12 miles per gallon on diesel. On vegetable oil, I get 16 miles to the gallon.

Question: And the cost to you?

Answer: There's time. Picking up vegetable oil from customers and restaurants and such. I'm probably about even on cost now.

Question: Could anyone with diesel vehicle burn vegetable oil?

Answer: Absolutely.