IT Services

Direct iT is a full-service information technology provider.

We offer services to a number of different business segments:

Small Businesses Without Inhouse IT

  • Complete Managed IT Services - your own IT department at a fraction of the cost.
  • On-call desktop support - knowledgeable help in minutes
  • Same day on-site services - from our top-notch engineers
  • Ongoing maintenance - catch problems before they happen
  • Long term planning - consultants you can trust

Small Businesses With Inhouse IT

  • Project Implementation - Leverage our expertise and our investments in product testing by letting Direct iT handle your next server implementation, network upgrade, or firewall project
  • Regular Maintenance - Let our maintenance experts check your logfiles, apply updates, and monitor hardware
  • Desktop Support - Free up your IT staff for more important projects by having Direct iT handle front-line support

Midsize and Enterprise Services

  • Projects and Consulting - cloud migrations, virtualization, WAN, backup systems - let our team handle your project over a weekend to minimize downtime.
  • Compliance Services - if you don't have time to study and manage your regulatory compliance challenges, let our compliance team lead you in the right direction.
  • Supplemental Support - reduce costs and IT staffing levels by outsourcing inhouse support services to a team you can trust.
  • Branch Office Support - free up your IT staff from having to manage branch offices.

IT Services Blog

Hackers Impersonating CEOs In Wire Fraud Attempts

email-encryption

Local businesses are being targeted by a new category of phishing attacks, called BEC (Business Email Compromise) or CEO scams.  According to the FBI, the total losses from BEC scams is over 1.2 billion dollars.  BEC scammers impersonate CEOs by sending emails to business associates (such as attorneys, accountants, partners, assistants, etc) asking them to authorize a wire transfer. There are a few things that are different about these BEC scams compared to e-mail fraud we are used to:

  • The request for a wire transfer is usually very specific and well-written — customized for the particular target
  • Details about the targeted business and its employees from LinkedIn, Facebook, and other public websites are integrated into the email to make it seem more legitimate
  • Sometimes fake domain names are registered that are very very similar to real domain names as part of the scam, so that the attacker can send and receive email pretending to be someone else.  For instance, if your real business domain name was abccompany.com, the hackers might actually register abcccompany.com so they could send and receive messages that look extremely similar to your real email address
  • Sometimes the hackers also might try to find publicly-posted emails from you or trick someone at your firm into sending an email so they can see what your standard signature / style of email is, so that the fake email they craft can have your real salutations and signatures.
  • In some cases they may use stolen passwords to actually gain access to an email account if possible

 

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center statistics, the average loss from successful BEC scams is around $100,000.  There are a few things you can do to protect your business:

 

  • Training, training, training.  The #1 most important step for security is to make sure your employees understand the risks and take them seriously.
  • Make sure your accountants and associates know to not authorize any wire transactions based only on e-mail
  • Use strong passwords and never re-use your corporate password for other sites
  • Remember never to click on unfamiliar or suspicious links or attachments in email

 

Windows 10 Free Upgrade – Should I Upgrade My PC?

Windows users who keep their PCs updated may have noticed a new icon in the system tray in  the last few days — this icon shows Microsoft’s offer for a free upgrade to Windows 10.  Not every PC will have this upgrade icon — most PCs on business networks do not currently have the Windows 10 upgrade icon.  According to Microsoft, over 14 million people already took advantage of the free upgrade on the very first day it was available. The Windows 10 upgrade icon looks something like this:
win10update1

 

 

 

For business users, Direct iT strongly recommends against upgrading at this time for the following reasons:

  • Many business applications have not yet been fully verified or may need to be updated to support Windows 10
  • New versions of Windows typically have many bugfixes and security updates in the first six months after they are released

In order to make sure your business PC does not get upgraded to Windows 10, follow these steps:

1. Click on the upgrade flag

2. From the “Get Windows 10” window that pops up, click on the 3 line menu button in the top left

win10update3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Click on the “View confirmation” button in the menu that appears

win10update4

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Then click “Cancel Reservation” to cancel your Windows 10 upgrade. Don’t worry, you can still go back and upgrade later (for at least the next year) if you change your mind.

win10update5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks!

Windows 10 Now On Sale

On July 29th, Microsoft began selling Windows 10.  An important milestone for Microsoft, Windows 10 should help Microsoft re-focus on the desktop market after Windows 8’s focus on tablets was met with a lukewarm reception, especially in the business market.  Microsoft is also offering free Windows 10 upgrades to users of some versions of Windows 7 and Windows 8.  We’ve been installing and testing Windows 10 in the Direct iT labs and here is what we have found: windows10logo

New features include:

  • Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-recognition engine
  • The return of the start menu so sorely missed from Windows 8
  • Hello, Microsoft’s biometric login that allows you to login with a fingerprint scanner, a facial recognition 3d camera, or an iris scanner

There are a few notable problems we’ve noticed with Windows 10 already, particulary:

  • The Start menu / Start screen can only have ~500 menu items in it;  this is problematic because some application suites may add 10-20+ menu items for one application suite.  Microsoft is expected to fix this very soon.
  • While much improved over Windows 8.1, the transition between tablet-style and desktop-style apps is still not seamless; for instance, settings are controlled by a new tablet-style Settings app, but not all settings are available there, other settings are still in an old-fashioned PC style “Control Panel”.

Should Businesses Begin Buying New PCs With Windows 10?

At Direct iT we always recommend the “Service Pack 1 Rule” — that is, wait for the first major service pack / update for an OS before even considering adopting it for business needs.  With Microsoft’s new automatic updates (that mostly can’t be turned off in Windows 10), there may  not be an official “Service Pack 1”, but Direct iT still recommends waiting at least six months before beginning to evaluate Windows 10’s suitability in a business environment.

windows10desktop

4 Easy Ways to Generate Real Sales Leads Online

1. YelpSales-Leads-Fuel-Gauge

Why Yelp is important:   When many people are searching for a product or service online, the biggest deciding factor is often online reviews.  Many consumers are highly nuanced in reading reviews — they understand that sometimes 4 stars is much better than 5 stars, because 5 stars means only one person reviewed the business, and they are probably the business owner.  Businesses without reviews will instantly seem sketchy, small, or irrelevant.

How to use Yelp:  At a minimum, sign up for the free business profile Yelp provides and fill it out by uploading photos, your logo, and filling out all of the background and other information about your business.  Then, ask some clients politely to review you — note, the review process on Yelp is actually fairly tricky, it takes many steps to sign up for an account, they look carefully for fake reviews (and may even blacklist businesses they catch trying to game the system), and every single review is reviewed by yelp before it appears on the site, a process that can sometimes take months.  However, in the long term going through the hassle will be worth it.

2. Google My Business

Why Google My Business is important:  many people search with Android based mobile devices or use Google as their browser.  Often, the likeliest categories of customers are searching for something in a specific area, and this allows your business to come up on local listings and in applications like Google Maps.

How to use Google My Business:   Sign up at https://www.google.com/business/ ; you may have to go through a verification process where google sends you a code in the mail to confirm your business address. Then, fill out your profile with your name, hours, photos, address, telephone numbers, and other information and it will be added to Google’s system. Google will also try to get you to setup a page on Google Plus, google’s social network, but don’t worry too much about this part.

3. Google Adwords

Why Google Adwords is Important: Sometimes the easiest way to get business leads is to buy them.  Google Adwords lets your ad come up on top of Google searches, as well as embed your advertisements in millions of other websites that are part of the Adwords display network (the biggest ad network online).  Adwords also offers remarketing services — this allows you to keep displaying targeted ads over and over to people that have at some point visited your website.

How to use Google Adwords:   First, pick some search terms that are relevant for your business and create a landing page — this is a quick webpage on your business website that has a lot of relevant information and most importantly, contact telephone numbers, forms, and other ways for potential leads to get in touch with you. Second, sign up for Google Adwords at adwords.google.com and begin creating an ad campaign — Google has telephone support people who will help you get started as the interface can be very complicated and confusing (and also changes frequently).

4. Constant Contact

Why Constant Contact is Important:  Constant Contact allows you to easily manage e-mail newsletters and offer campaigns.  Spam email is generally not effective, however sending targeted newsletters and offers to people you have an existing business relationship with can be very productive.   With constant contact, you can manage these lists and send them updates; the service will allow you to

How to use Constant Contact:  First, sign up and start playing with it at constantcontact.com .  Then, you may want to consider a Constant Contact training or bootcamp session; they frequently offer both online and in-person training sessions, sometimes free or very affordable, where experienced e-mail marketing experts will walk you through creating and sending a campaign.  These trainers really know their stuff and offer a wealth of information, we highly recommend giving it a try.

Windows 10 Will Be Free Upgrade

Windows 10 Upgrades Will Be Free For 1 Yearwindows10logo

Microsoft recently announced that for the first year after Windows 10 is officially released, it will be available as a free upgrade to anyone running Windows 7 or Windows 8.  It is also expected that the price of Windows 10 on new PCs will be lower than  previous versions of Windows.

Automatic Updates Will Be Bigger Part Of Windows 10

Additionally, Microsoft is attempting to change how they release operating systems, with automatic updates and upgrades playing a much bigger part in Windows 10 than they did in previous versions of Windows. According to Microsoft’s plans, all Windows devices will be updated constantly to the latest version although a separate corporate “channel” for businesses desiring a more stable, well-tested platform will also be available.  Of course, we all know plans can change — we will see how well Microsoft’s plans work in the future.

Microsoft’s Ongoing Struggle For Relevance

Microsoft must be extremely worried to be experimenting with different business models and release cycles for Windows, their flagship product.  Of course, a number of long-term trends have been working against Microsoft, including:

  • The rise of smartphones and tablets – in 2014, around 300 million PCs were sold worldwide — compared to 2.1 billion tablets and smartphones
  • The rise of cloud computing (where Microsoft is behind companies like Amazon and Google)
  • The market’s failure to embrace Windows 8 and Windows phones
  • The rise of Apple

 

Read more at Microsoft’s Windows 10 page here: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/about


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About Direct iT

Direct iT, Inc. is a New England based IT services firm offering products and services for small businesses in Greater Boston, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and the rest of New England. Cloud, compliance, and document management services are also available worldwide. Many of our customers are along the Route 128 technology corridor.

Direct iT, Inc. Main Offices

39 Emerson Rd. Suite 215
Waltham, MA 02451
Sales: 781-890-4400
Support 781-890-1907
sales@directitcorp.com