Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Inexpensive Tech Tips for Small Businesses



March 8, 2010 =

Data loss and Internet-security threats are obvious problems that kill profits. So it doesn’t pay to ignore your company’s technology needs even in this economic climate.

How can you be frugal on technology and progressive-minded at the same time? Syndicated Technology is a small IT company with solutions. Established in 2008, in Tacoma, WA and branding itself, “Bringing IT together to work for you,” the company specializes in finding pricey alternatives.

It was formed by four friends – Clark Snyder, Ryan Shook, Peter Rycroft and Jerry Torrey. They have more than 60 years of aggregate experience. Mr. Snyder is the president.

Their solutions are for Washington small businesses, but their advice will give you insights if you live in other regions of the nation.

Here’s an excerpt of an interview:

Q: What security measures should a small to medium size company heed?

A: Good virus protection and a good software firewall are only two key components of an overall security scheme.

One thing that a lot of companies overlook is the need for a backup system that protects vital information assets not only from information thieves, but also from the catastrophic events such as a facility fire or the ravages of time in the form of hardware failure. A good practice is to have current backups spread across at least three levels of redundancy with one level of redundancy off-site.

It is important to educate your employees on various techniques that are used to infiltrate business and personal systems. The most successful virus that is currently ravaging computers across the world right now uses social engineering techniques to get users to voluntarily download the virus to their systems.

It presents users with a pop-up that says that the computer is infected with viruses and instructs the user to download the removal tool. This removal tool is actually a trojan-downloader that downloads other mal-ware onto the system it infects. It goes by many names, most commonly antivirus2008 or antivirus2009, and has been changing rapidly.

If you see anything telling you that you have viruses and you don’t recognize the message as being from your antivirus software, close it out by clicking on the red ‘x’ button in the upper left hand corner of the window.

Q: What security measures do you recommend?

A: Common sense and education are two of the most important tools in security and protecting valuable company and client assets. I also recommend a good anti-malware package, and good software firewall.

Q: What seem to be the biggest technology concerns for small businesses?

A: As the information technology industry changes and computers become less expensive, it makes less sense to fix a hardware problem with a system. I think we have about five years before computer systems for the consumer become so inexpensive that they will truly become throw-away appliances. What this means for businesses of any scale is cost of replacing equipment is going to become more of a smaller regular cost rather than a larger periodic cost.

Q: What do businesses seem to wrong most often?

A: Many companies allow unrestricted access to the internet from company computer systems. This opens the door for abuse of the company network and increases the likelihood of the system becoming infected with mal-ware. The websites that employees are allowed to visit can by managed by using either a router with parental controls of by using Windows Vista’s built in parental controls on smaller networks. For larger networks, it may be necessary to obtain a separate net filter box or run filtering software on the company’s server.

Another common error is to allow unlimited use of company e-mail. Implementing an attachment size cap of five MB can curb this problem and keep the email server’s storage space available for business use.

Q: What recycling recommendations do you have?

A: Recycle responsibly and often. Electronic waste has a way of taking up storage closets that could be used to store other more important things like coffee, paper towels, or tax records. Washington has instituted a law effective January 1, 2009. Manufacturers of CEPs (Covered Electronic Products) must pay for the costs involved in recycling their products. More information on electronics recycling can be found here: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/eproductrecycle/index.html

Q: What other recommendations do you have?

A: One recommendation that I have is to plan on upgrading systems running Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 by 2014. The reason for this is that Microsoft plans on discontinuing support for XP and Server 2003 around 2014 due to the products scheduled end of life. When planning for any transition it is important to consider compatibility of the applications that are run on current systems with the new operating system software.

You can visit his firm’s Web site: www.thesyndicatetech.com.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are three low-cost measures for your computer system:

  • Maximize your memory.
  • Have your computers undergo a system optimization process.
  • Microsoft Security Essentials is a free software that performs brilliantly.



Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.