ACRBO https://www.acrbo.com Association of Computer Repair Business Owners Thu, 23 May 2019 16:09:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 What’s the Best Way to Handle Negative Customer Reviews? Tips on the Right Way to Respond! https://www.acrbo.com/blog/vendor-blog/whats-the-best-way-to-handle-negative-customer-reviews-tips-on-the-right-way-to-respond https://www.acrbo.com/blog/vendor-blog/whats-the-best-way-to-handle-negative-customer-reviews-tips-on-the-right-way-to-respond#respond Thu, 23 May 2019 16:05:02 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=4110 Customer Experience Concept. Unhappy Client show Thumb Down in meaning "Bad" over Negative Reviews and Social icons. Poor Services for Satisfaction Survey Online

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Customer Experience Concept. Unhappy Client show Thumb Down in meaning "Bad" over Negative Reviews and Social icons. Poor Services for Satisfaction Survey Online

Anyone that runs a business knows that customer reviews can make you or break you. Great reviews bring in more business, while negative ones can drive it away. In today’s online world, reviews are one of the first things that customers search about a company.

They’re also important for good SEO and Google’s My Business listings have put reviews front and center on any business search, so review management is of vital importance.

Properly managing your business reviews is about more than just requesting new ones, it’s about knowing how to properly handle negative reviews. No matter what type of stellar computer and tech services you provide, you’re bound to receive a bad review from time to time, deserved or not.

What’s the right way to handle negative reviews? How important are they to your business? Read on to find out.

How Powerful are Customer Reviews?

While everyone can appreciate good reviews, you may wonder how important they actually are to your overall marketing and for generating new business. Here are a few eye-opening statistics.

  • 95% of consumers read online reviews before deciding to make a purchase
  • There is a 270% greater chance of a purchase if a product has at least 5 reviews
  • The ratings range of 4.0 – 4.7 is the “sweet spot” for purchase likelihood
  • 88% of buyers say that reviews influencetheir buying decisions

84 % of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (Forbes)

Have you looked at your reviews lately? It’s always a good idea to do a Google search on your business name + the word “reviews” from time to time and see what information your potential customers are seeing.

Just ignoring your bad online reviews isn’t really an option if you want to grow your business and build a reputation of trustworthiness and excellent customer service.

Tips for Handling Negative Online Reviews Like A Pro

It can be tempting to get defensive and start firing off a reply to a negative review before you think, especially if you feel a review is unfair. But that’s not a good idea and most likely will only make matters worse.

An epic example of how NOT to respond to negative reviews happened when the TV show Kitchen Nightmareshighlighted Amy’s Baking Company. The owners took to Facebook to respond to negative reviews and ended up getting into verbal fistfights online.. all publicly happening in front of potential customers.

So, if you shouldn’t fire off a defensive response, what should you do? Here are the successful ways to turn bad reviews into a positive for your company image.

Reply to All Reviews – Even the Bad Ones 

It’s a good rule of thumb to reply to all reviews, both good and bad. This shows that your company is paying attention and is responsive, which people will translate into your being responsive to their computer and IT issues as well.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that review ratings got better when responses increased. The hotels in their study also received about 12% more reviews when they started responding to all of them.

So, you DO want to respond to negative (and positive) reviews, and you’ll get a review boost from doing it.

Listen and Don’t Respond Defensively

Remember, what you’re responding in an online review is seen by everyone, so you want to show yourself and your company in the best light. Even if you feel you are totally in the right on a particular issue, belittling the reviewer isn’t going to look good to any potential customers who may be put off reading how you treat someone.

Take the time to really listen to what the reviewer is saying and try to see things from their perspective. It’s easy to instantly assign a negative motive to a bad online review, but what did they actually experience? Were they having a bad day and your office was super busy that day, so they didn’t get the quality care you normally strive for?

If you look at a negative review as constructive criticism to learn from, it can help diffuse how you’re feeling about the situation and help guide your response to a helpful, rather than defensive one.

Think about what you can learn from a negative review that can make your business better. Are you seeing a pattern? Is there something in your process that can make things better for everyone?

For example, if a customer is complaining about the time it took your business to repair their laptop, look at the chain of what caused that to happen:

What’s their main complaint?You quoted a 4-day turn around, but it took 10 days in their case.

Why was it late?Their laptop needed a part that you didn’t have in stock and you forgot to order it until they called to ask about their computer 6 days later.

How can this be alleviated in the future?Automate your ordering process so parts are ordered automatically as soon as a customer contracts for the repair.

How should you respond to the client?Apologize for the mistake and own up to the fact that the repair took longer than you originally quoted. Then perhaps offer them a discount if they give you another chance in the future.

Apologize for their Experience

Nine times out of ten what a customer giving a bad review wants to hear is, “I’m sorry.” They typically just want to be heard and their experience acknowledged. In other words, they want to know you care.

Whether you did anything wrong or not, you can still apologize for their experience and that it wasn’t what they had hoped for. If you do find that you dropped the ball in their case, it’s good business to apologize, thank them for pointing out the issue, and mention that you’re going to address this.

Showing that you care goes a long way into turning an unhappy customer into one that feels heard and may be more than willing to give you another chance for their business.

Keep Your Reply Short and to the Point

Remember, your words are being read by anyone visiting that review page, so it’s best to keep your reply short and to the point rather than rambling on. Using three to four sentences for the length of your reply is a good rule of thumb.

You can still acknowledge their problem, show that you care, and give them a way to contact you offline while also ensuring your reply isn’t too lengthy.

Move the Conversation Offline

And that brings us to our last tip, for a number of reasons, it’s best to move the resolution of their issue offline. In your reply you should include contact information like your business phone number and email (even if you know they already have it). This helps keep sensitive details, like the price they paid or account numbers, from being given in a public forum. It also lets those looking through the reviews know that you’re easy to contact and care about getting issues resolved.

Suggest in your reply that the reviewer contact you offline to resolve their issue and when they do, keep that non-defensive posture and really listen to what they have to say so you can try to resolve it as best you can.

Handling negative reviews with tact and professionalism makes all the difference in how your business is perceived by those 95% of people researching you online that may become your customers. It’s a win-win if you can turn an unhappy customer into a happy one and gain more along the way by handling bad reviews the right way.

Ramey Bell is the founder of TechReputation.com

Visit https://www.techreputation.com/acrbo for 20% off for ACRBO members

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Recovery Time Objective https://www.acrbo.com/blog/recovery-time-objective https://www.acrbo.com/blog/recovery-time-objective#respond Tue, 07 May 2019 17:41:27 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=4087 Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s famous line “Time is Money” provides an appropriate foundation for the development of our customer’s disaster recovery plan. ...

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Founding Father Benjamin Franklin’s famous line “Time is Money” provides an appropriate foundation for the development of our customer’s disaster recovery plan. Our dependence on computers means any delay or outage equals lost productivity and lost revenues – be it calling customers, handling transactions, drafting documents or some other business function.

ACRBO members are keenly aware that “Time is Money”. A staple of the computer repair business is the anxious business owner begging to be up and running. We are the first to see the financial (and emotional) consequences of debilitating user error, security failures and hardware malfunctions. When something goes down, the clock is ticking – and suddenly it is all eyes us to save the day.

While the ability to save the day is a core responsibility of a computer repair business – it is also arguably an ethical imperative to recommend some sort of prevention and disaster planning when we can. Unfortunately, too many customers come to appreciate the value of their data and their time when it is too late.

A great starting place is when encouraging your customer to implement a disaster prevention and recovery plan. In this plan, your customer should evaluate all the different ways in which data backup process of the organisation could be broken and affect the continuity of the company. It is about probability and having a plan to avoid surprises.

Having a few key points to encourage your customer to implement a legitimate prevention and disaster plan may help your customer make a wise choice. A core concept for your customer to think about is their “Recovery Time Objective”.; Here are a few questions to ask your customers:

What is the true value of your data? It’s easy to for granted access to our data – to our data for granted.  If the data was gone forever what would they pay to get it back? No one backs up just for fun. They back up to recover.

What is the value of your time?

The real & opportunity cost of the time it takes to recover data from a loss is significant. Encourage your customers to consider both the wages & lost productivity they give up to find and recover and reproduce their lost data.

What customer issues does a data loss create?

It is not always obvious until it happens, but the consequences of a data loss don’t just hurt your client, it hurts their customers too. Their customers will experience the same lost productivity, recovery time and their associated costs as your clients. Additionally, they’ll lose one of your client’s most important assets: Trust. While your client works to recover, their customers will be communicating with the competition to keep things running.

Macrium software sells several backup software solutions to include in your package. Our Reflect software is able to backup Windows Servers, Exchange & SQL Servers, and PCs. We also have a package to mass install, set up and monitor your backups from a single console – and if you manage your client’s machines remotely, we have that too. For customers looking to take one time & manual backups, we suggest our Technician’s License which enables you to run Macrium Reflect on any machine from a USB key.

Putting together a comprehensive backup and data recovery package for your clients requires expertise, and there are plenty of options. While a data backup system is not a replacement for a disaster recovery plan, it should be part of it.

Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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How does Google Maps learn to trust and favorably rank your IT business when you’re the new kid on the block? https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-does-google-maps-learn-to-trust-and-favorably-rank-your-it-business-when-youre-the-new-kid-on-the-block https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-does-google-maps-learn-to-trust-and-favorably-rank-your-it-business-when-youre-the-new-kid-on-the-block#respond Tue, 02 Apr 2019 17:16:13 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3990 Imagine you’ve just started your own IT business and, at first, all Google knows about you is your company name, address and ...

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Imagine you’ve just started your own IT business and, at first, all Google knows about you is your company name, address and phone number, known as NAP in local search optimization parlance. The online locations of these NAPs are called citations. The first citation should always be your Google “My Business” listing. This should be 100% complete for full effectiveness. According to a study by BrightLocal, businesses that ranked in the top three on Google local had an average of 85 citations. Citations should have consistent NAPs, without duplicates, and should include as many elements as the listing offers, such as photos, videos and reviews.

Next, help Google gather more details about your IT business through local elements on your website. Obviously, your NAP should match all other citations, as mentioned earlier, and should at least appear on the home and contact pages. Positioning it on every page would be even better. Utilize the rich, informative language strategy known as schema markup to boost your search rank. (Learn about schema markup at https://schema.org/.) And don’t forget to provide directions with an embedded Google map on your contact page.

Additionally, the power of customer reviews as a ranking factor has increased dramatically and managing these reviews is a time-consuming, never-ending task. (For a complete list of local search ranking factors visit https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors) With so many review sites available, the first challenge is getting visibility on all your data. Second is obtaining more positive reviews for your business on a regular basis. Finally, reviews, both positive and negative, inspire a response. This requires extra effort and attention but is well worth the effort. Customer reviews have a significant impact on positive ranking in Google local, meriting serious consideration when it comes to creating your marketing plan.

As you can see, gaining Google’s trust in your IT business gives you an edge, but it comes at a premium: a generous amount of time and a modest amount of funds. Do you really have that extra time? Or could that undertaking be better managed by online software that is set up to keep your data organized? True, a savvy business owner recognizes the importance of being personally involved in monitoring customer reviews, offering sincere replies. However, reputation management software streamlines that process by gathering reviews from multiple sites into one dashboard and issuing an alert with each new review. Such software is available in many different presentations and often comes with a free trial offer. Why not take advantage of one of them and see how it works for your IT business?

 

Ramey Bell is the founder of TechReputation.com

Visit https://www.techreputation.com/acrbo for 20% off for ACRBO members

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How to convince your customers that Backup software is needed https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-to-convince-your-customers-that-backup-software-is-needed https://www.acrbo.com/blog/how-to-convince-your-customers-that-backup-software-is-needed#respond Wed, 06 Feb 2019 19:22:47 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3899 What’s keeping your customers from protecting their data with a proper disaster recovery solution including taking regularly scheduled backups? As your customer’s ...

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What’s keeping your customers from protecting their data with a proper disaster recovery solution including taking regularly scheduled backups? As your customer’s key consultant, the ability to communicate the importance of backup, and also understanding potential objections will help you do best by your customer by convincing them to protect their data.

This article intends to address typical barriers to customer’s choosing to perform backups.

 

Myth 1: I don’t need a backup

People rarely have an accurate idea of the value of their data. Their machines often contain years of work, photos and documents not stored anywhere else. At best they may occasionally (but unreliable)  make manual copies of important files on USB sticks and hope that nothing bad will happen – but we all know hope isn’t an effective form of data protection

By challenging your customer to consider the kind of data they keep on their machine, and what it would take to recover or reproduce that data after a loss can get them thinking about the true value of that data. Get them considering the amount of time it might take to reproduce that data, or as is the case with many photos, if they’ll even be able to reproduce or find that data.

Examples of data your customer might have stored with no backup include:

Companies invoices, inventory records, contracts, status reports, employees records, databases of customers, a repository of knowledge, financial statements, product or services guides or brochures, are crucial information. They can lose years of work.

After considering the value of their data, your customer will very likely come to the conclusion that their data is worth a lot more than an affordable plan and solution to backup their data.

 

Myth  2: Backup Software solutions is complex

Customers often argue that that the backup solutions and backup tools are too difficult to use. That is more common in end users rather than IT technical professionals. But this just isn’t true – modern solutions are simple and intuitive. A good solution, like Macrium, should have a clean dashboard, easy menus, a complete KnowledgeBase and an active support forum. We also recommend you advise your client to consider solutions that include technical support with a team that can help. Good solutions often offer clients webinars to wither directly from the developer or with a channel partner.

 

Myth 3: All backup solutions are equal

When it comes to backup, your customer has plenty of options and factors to consider. This includes type, frequency, storage, method. There is “file & folder” vs image backups, cloud-based storage vs onsite storage, manually run vs regularly scheduled.

People assume that all backup solutions are the same. What you need to do is help them identify the correct tool that strikes a balance between cost and solutions to the problem they want to solve.

It is never a bad idea to have multiple backups and even methods. Typically, customer priorities are often recovery speed and reliability. While many people consider “file & folder” sufficient that method has risks and its associated recovery takes a long time. First, files are easily missed or not copied over. Plus, that form of backup misses all the applications and the OS – which means after a data loss your customer will need to reinstall and configure their entire machine (including finding all of their license keys). This is timely and distracts from their own productivity.

Another consideration is cloud vs local storage. While the cloud offers many conveniences, considerations include cost and recovery time. Backup files can be large and when it comes to important documents they add up. Cloud services charge for the service and storage space. Also, in the event of a loss, it is timely downloading large files before initiating a recovery – which results in downtime losses.

Companies like Macrium create a reliable and fast backup with options that cut down on storage space, include encryption, whole image and “file & folder”. All versions of our software offer the ability to image single or multiple partitions and clone disks, file and folder backup, GPT and Dynamic disk support as well as providing a ReDeploy function that allows images to be restored to dissimilar hardware.

 

Myth 4: Backup is a low priority

The risk of data loss is ever increasing and should not be a low priority, especially with the rise cyber attacks and ransomware. Other sources of data loss include:

  • Human error– accidental (or negligent) data deletion or modification, or over-writing files; Improper installation or removal of files; Improper drive formatting or partitioning.
  • Location-related– a theft, fire, flood, earthquake in the place you store your data.
  • File corruption– Your data suffers a virus or ransomware infection, or software error.
  • Hardware failure– The storage devices that you are using can develop faults. They can overheat. They can be exposed to magnetic fields. They can suffer power outages or surges.

Backup is not a pointless endeavor or fruitless exercise. It’s done as an insurance policy to protect from data loss. Better to have a backup and not need it instead of to need it and not have it.

Are your clients prepared for disaster? You can ask them: Are your vital data records protected from the harm that could be caused by a data disaster? Are you protected from ransomware and cybercriminals?

With this in mind, we created Macrium Image Guardian which prevents unauthorized parties from modifying of Macrium backup files on local and USB volumes so they cannot be encrypted by ransomware.

 

Myth 5: Backup solutions are expensive

To understand the value of a backup solution, you need to make your client think about the cost of downtime.

You do not need a specific formula to calculate downtime, but here is a list of things to consider:

  • The value of the information lost
  • The number and cost of staff affected
  • The amount of time that recovery will take
  • The value of sales lost at that time
  • The impact on productivity
  • The clients they can lose for losing credibility and trust
  • The cost of compensation to customers

Backup myths are not uncommon and they can be harmful to any business that makes a miscalculation based on one or more of them. Backup may seem like an expensive, time consuming and difficult process, but it really doesn’t have to be.

By dispelling the myths and making it clear how much safer a protected business is, your customers’ business’ will be in a much better position.

Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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5 Tips to Protect Your Data https://www.acrbo.com/blog/5-tips-to-protect-your-data https://www.acrbo.com/blog/5-tips-to-protect-your-data#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 19:08:44 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3814 Out of fear of bad publicity, some companies choose not to report cyber attacks. So, as they are more widespread than before, ...

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Out of fear of bad publicity, some companies choose not to report cyber attacks. So, as they are more widespread than before, and more than we realize. Even worse, some companies are unaware the attacks have occurred until they need to pay to recover encrypted data. Moreover, some companies unknown how to report this situation.

Here are some steps to follow to protect your company from data loss and cyber attacks.

 

1. Backup your data:

Regular backups are the best practices to prevent data loss and quickly recover from cyber attacks. That includes that your systems which should be continuously monitored and patched; checking for updates and new patches. Other recommendations include encrypting your data and keeping it only as long as you need it.

2. Increase your security:

– Check your security providers, find a cybersecurity specialist.
– Write your cybersecurity policy and enforce it.
– Prepare an incident response plan, the data recovery plan.

3. Train your employees:

Improve your staff’s awareness and attitude toward security, and help your employees make the right decisions when they are faced with security threats.

4. Be aware of external access:

Protect your passwords with up-to-date best practice, check permissions and external access to your company data.

5. Control the ransomware attack:

Stop the spread of infection by isolating the affected systems as quickly as possible. Apply your data recovery plan, follow the procedures. You should be able to identify which workstation(s) or server(s) are infected. Then you can restore your systems using protected, clean backups to restore lost data.

Know your solution options.

Understanding your customer’s data threats and their subsequent solutions is critical to properly caring for your customer. Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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Buying guide for Backup solutions https://www.acrbo.com/blog/buying-guide-for-backup-solutions https://www.acrbo.com/blog/buying-guide-for-backup-solutions#respond Wed, 03 Oct 2018 17:59:14 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3778 Usually, end users are not aware of how important it is to do regular backups of their data until it’s too late. ...

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Usually, end users are not aware of how important it is to do regular backups of their data until it’s too late. All of us at some point in our lives have lost important information. Nowadays it is crucial to have a backup solution, but how do we choose a backup solution? First, it would help if you understood what you need. Then you can find the solution to solve the problem. Consider the following aspects:

 

 

 

How many computers?

Personal or business use? If it for business use, how many workstations or servers do you need to backup? The volume of work you need to do defines the kind of tool you need.

 

Do you have multiple computers?

Are they all connected to the same server? Are they physically in the same location? If you need to control the backup of many workstations at the same time, you can use a console to manage all the license of the software in each machine and monitor the status of backups and the schedules, even if the computers are not in the same physical space. Also, do I need to set up all those computers with the same operative system and data, like with a master image? Because that is a redeploy feature and not all the tools will allow you to do that.

 

Do you need continuous backup?

Which kind of backup do you need? Do you need ad-hoc “snapshot” backups or you are planning to have scheduled backups?

Which type of backup suits your needs? Here you have some definitions:

 

  • Full System Backup:Restore any computer to one point in time, and that includes all the data, applications and even the operating system by creating an exact image of the machine.
  • Differential Backup:A differential image stores the changes that have been made to the imaged file system since the last full image. Subsequent differentials can be taken, but only one differential and the full are required to restore the system entirely.
  • Incremental Backup:The main difference between incremental images is that they only store file system changes since the last image, either full, differential or incremental. The resultant backup set, therefore, consists of a full image and some incremental images which must all be present to restore the system correctly.

 

Is the tool easy to use?

The software should be easy and quick. Is the learning curve steep? Is it intuitive? Does the software have a knowledge base or manual? Is there a forum for users? Is technical support included? Will the technical support offered to cover my needs? It depends on you or your client, but in some cases, it is convenient to cover the cost of an excellent technical service just in case.

 

How fast is it?

How fast can I create my backup? How efficient is it, especially with extensive files, such as virtual hard disk (VHD) files?

 

Thinking about extra protection

Is my backup solution up to date? Do I have the latest version? How reliable is the tool? Always check the reviews; you can use forums and comparative tables to choose the correct option.

 

Where will I store the data? 

Where do you want to store your data backup? In what formats? Which storage solutions I have available? How many copies it’s convenient to have?

Could be an External Hard Drive or a Solid State Drive (SSD). Then you have small drives like a USB Thumb Drive Or Flash Drive, or even an Optical Drive (like the CD/ DVD). Also, the Network Attached Storage (NAS) that is also a local solution, and then you have the Cloud Storage that allows you access remotely to the data. We always recommend the 3,2,1 rule, that means to store in different formats and different locations.

 

The tool has ransomware protection?

Does it prevent or mitigate the risk of a ransomware attack? How effective is?

There are tools for mitigating the ransomware once started to encrypt the data. Also, there exist different software antiviruses that detect the ransomware once you are infected. However, we recommend tools that prevent the ransomware; when it doesn’t matter how new and good the ransomware is; your data is safe by principle.

 

What about the remote file access?

Do I need remote access to the data? Do I need to restore an image of specific files in specific folders remotely? Do I need to download the data from the folder? Can I see and manage a repository of images of the disk (incremental or full)?

This defines the kind of storage that you will choose for the backups, and for managing them. You can use a console to manage all the backup images and see the repository and the folders. This will allow you to restore a specific document remotely.

 

What about virtualising machines and redeploy options?

Do I need to create a virtual machine? Do I need to create a Virtual Machine Clone of an existing Windows hard drive? Do I need to move a full Operating System from an old PC to a new one?

With a ReDeploy feature, you can restore an image to a replacement computer or even create various types of virtual hard drives to virtualise the machine; a technique sometimes called Physical to Virtual or P2V.

 

Is there a portable App option?

Does the software allow me to create a bootable USB stick from which I can backup or restore your target PCs both online and offline?

To have a portable application running on a bootable USB stick to create an image of any workstation or server they need to work on, and restore it quickly whenever necessary is very useful. That allows a single user to image multiple PCs, and regardless of the vendor, it is called Technicians License.

 

Am I prepared for disaster?

Does the tool allow me to prepare myself for disaster recovery? Can I schedule backups? Until you have not run your backup for a few days and need to restore a backup, you will not know just how useful your disaster recovery tool is. For that reason, it is better to start with the trials. Does the software have a trial edition? If it does, how long is the trial? That defines the tool you want to choose.

 

Know your solution options.

Understanding your customer’s data threats and their subsequent solutions is critical to properly caring for your customer. Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

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Choosing The Right Remote Support Software https://www.acrbo.com/blog/choosing-the-right-remote-support-software https://www.acrbo.com/blog/choosing-the-right-remote-support-software#respond Mon, 01 Oct 2018 15:38:12 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3770 As a computer repair business owner, remote support is a crucial part of your business.  It’s not just phone support, but also remote control ...

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As a computer repair business owner, remote support is a crucial part of your business.  It’s not just phone support, but also remote control of a client’s computer.  Both on Mac or PC, you have dozens of choices for support, including those developed by Apple or Microsoft.  Picking the right one for your business is a serious commitment.

 

 

Keeping It Legal, Ethical and Secure

Some computer repair business owners use remote control software in violation of the EULA (end-user license agreement).  Programs designed for personal use shouldn’t be used in a business. Your customers see those warnings as well and they won’t trust you as much. Or worse, they’ll ask you to violate a license agreement since you’ve established a pattern with a client.

The solution you pick needs to communicate to your clients you’re a professional rather than a software pirate.  The last thing you want to tell a client is that you can’t help them because you’re locked out of your solution.

 

At A Price You Can Afford

One reason you might pick a free solution is starting out, you can’t afford much.  You need to get the clients, but you can’t get the clients without the software.  Spending hundreds of a dollars on a solution won’t serve your business well. The solution you pick, especially if you’re jumping into professional remote support, has to be affordable. Look for solutions that charge you by the month, rather than a large upfront cost. Monthly expenses can be predicted and budgeted for.

 

With Your Name On It

When you install a generic icon and solution on your client systems, you become an interchangeable commodity. That’s especially important with remote solutions. You don’t always see your client so it’s harder to establish loyalty.

An ideal solution lets you custom brand the product.  The solution is unique to you and your client.  Again, that shows you’re a professional.  It’s also advertising for your company.  Your remote solution serves as a reminder to who the support company is.

 

Can’t Easily Be Used by Hackers

The number one concern with any remote control solution is hijacking. What if a scammer calls your client and used your tool gain control?  Even worse, what if they pretended to be you in order to gain control? That fear should keep you up at night.

With the free solutions that Microsoft includes and Apple used to include, the scammers can gain control of a system too easily.  Leaving that available to customers puts you and them at risk.  A professional support solution should be used only by you and your company.

 

But Easily Used By Customers

The solution you pick has to be easy for a customer to install and configure. Many of these programs are designed for remote workers rather than remote support. The more options and questions at install, the harder the software is to use.  Eventually, a client will just ask you to come on over rather than deal with a difficult to use program.  If they knew how to install software and answer questions, they probably wouldn’t need you.

 

Focused On Just One Thing

Some products include remote support as part of a larger solution, such as an RMM. The problem with an RMM based remote solution is you’re tied to that product.  The client needs to subscribe to your managed services program.  If your RMM provider gets bought out and increases your rates, you’re stuck if you rely on them for remote management and remote support.

Selecting a remote support solution that’s focused just on remote support can be a better business decision.  It keeps your business flexible for both break-fix and managed service work.  It lets you switch RMM providers without risking your remote connection.

 

Quality Technical Support

Since clients rely on you for technical support, your provider has to provide the same or better support as you do.  Before you pick a solution, contact the support department.  Obviously, if you’re using a free solution (or worse a solution you aren’t licensed for), that isn’t an option.  Most companies will give you free trials of the product. During that time test the quality of the support.  If they treat you like an end-user rather than a support professional, you know the option isn’t right for you.

 

Understands Small Business

Some remote control solutions are designed for large corporations.  It may seem attractive when the company says their product is used in Fortune 100 or even Fortune 10 companies.  When you think about it though, are they geared towards small business?  Who do you think gets better support, a company that has millions of users or a company that has a few hundred or even a few dozen?  Your provider should be focused on your business rather than large corporate clients.  Ask them who their biggest customers are.  If your remote support provider’s client base doesn’t match your business profile, that provider probably isn’t a fit for you.

 

One Option:  Instant Housecall

As a member of ACRBO, you automatically get a 15 day free trial of the product. Whether you’re break-fix or a managed service provider, Instant Housecall will fit into your business processes.  If you’re with another provider, you might get a better value with Instant Housecall. If you haven’t embraced remote support, then Instant Housecall is a great place to start.  You’ll get the right mixture of features and support at a price you can afford. https://instanthousecall.com

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Help Companies to Protect their Business https://www.acrbo.com/blog/vendor-blog/help-companies-to-protect-their-business https://www.acrbo.com/blog/vendor-blog/help-companies-to-protect-their-business#respond Fri, 24 Aug 2018 17:29:43 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3740   You have probably heard all kind of horror stories about lost company data. This happens because some companies do not ...

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You have probably heard all kind of horror stories about lost company data. This happens because some companies do not have a backup plan; and the ones that have a plan to revisit it, in the best of the cases, once a year.

Most companies do not follow the simple  3,2,1 backup rule (read more). This is made worse considering some companies with backup plans still doing everything manually.

 

Essential questions any IT administrator must ask:

  • Does the organisation have a business data recovery plan?
  • When was it last tested?
  • Does the plan account for the changes happening in your IT environment?
  • Are you sure?

 

Here are some proactive steps to recommend to your client:

Create a data recovery disaster plan or review the existing one:

In the disaster recovery plan, evaluate all the different ways in which data backup process of the organisation could be broken and affect the continuity of the company. It’s about probability and having a plan to avoid surprises.

 

Prepare a disaster recovery plan including the data backup systems.

  • Control who has access to the data backup information.
  • Check password policies
  • Monitor the backup system to check that is doing its job.
  • Routinely test the recoverability of backups.
  • Check the physical security of media where data has been archived.

 

Maintain updated software:

Get serious about updating the software and check for patches and releases.

Why update your software?

  • To make sure you still have support,
  • To have all the latest bug-fixes
  • To have the newest features available

 

Backup the files (more than one copy):

Creating multiple copies protects the business from losing any critical data. The 3–2–1 backup rule is an effective strategy that instantly removes any single point of failure.

  • Keep at least three copies of the data
  • Keep the backups on two different storage types
  • Keep at least one copy of the information off-site

 

Test the backups:

Make sure your existing backups and plan work properly.

  • Do a recovery “drill” as if a drive failure or an image was deleted.
  • Verify your backup copies are trustworthy and confirm the automation is reliable.
  • Image a new drive using your backup image to make sure it works.
  • Recover a file as if it had been deleted
  • Schedule a regular checkup to confirm everything is running as planned

By mounting the image files in Windows Explorer, you can browse or explore an image and access all the files in a backup. The backed up data appears as a temporary drive in Windows Explorer that you can access, just like any other drive, mounted with its drive letter. Individual Files and Folders can quickly be recovered by using Copy and Paste.

 

Be cautious of unsolicited emails:

Do not open emails that you don’t know, pay attention to who sent the email and to the subject line, risky emails use this messages:

  • Urgent Action Required
  • Password Check Required Immediately
  • Unusual sign-in activity

 

Keep one eye with on new cybersecurity threats:

Check cybersecurity news from time to time. New cases of ransomware appear every day. There are many backup suppliers that as part of the service they protect your data against the latest threats.

 

Know your solution options.

Understanding your customer’s data threats and their subsequent solutions is critical to properly caring for your customer. Since 2006 Macrium has been offering reliable, fast and competitive backup and imaging products. Data protection features include Image Guardian to protect your backups against ransomware, ViBoot to reduce downtime consequences, and Site Manager to monitor all of a network’s backups. ACRBO partners receive special pricing including generous discounts for internal use – reach out to Rain Networks, our ACRBO distributor for more information.

 

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Going back to the basics, the 3,2,1 rule https://www.acrbo.com/blog/going-back-to-the-basics-the-321-rule https://www.acrbo.com/blog/going-back-to-the-basics-the-321-rule#respond Thu, 19 Jul 2018 15:23:08 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3704 Technology is a crucial component in the day-to-day operations of every business. For many leaders, a disaster recovery plan is essential to ...

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Technology is a crucial component in the day-to-day operations of every business. For many leaders, a disaster recovery plan is essential to ensure business continuity and data availability in the event of inevitable IT disasters such as hardware failures and cyber-attacks.

Traditionally, at the heart of any disaster recovery plan is backup storage. By creating copies of a data backup, IT departments are able to add an extra layer of protection from a data disaster, deletion or corruption. There are multiple scenarios where critical data can easily be lost, and it’s your responsibility to protect against every eventuality.

What can happen?

The loss of information could happen for many reasons:

  • Human error — data deletion, modification or overwriting by accident or negligence.
  • Location-related — leaving a device on a train, theft, fire, flood, or earthquake.
  • File corruption — virus or ransomware infection or software error corrupts data
  • Hardware failure — hard drive, CPU or controller failure

When a storage backup is created, the backup data is typically kept on a device or server; and is stored on local or remote storage. These backups can also be stored on a hard disk or a pen drive. The question that businesses are increasingly asking, is how many copies do they need to protect their company data?

The 3–2–1 Approach Protecting Company Data

Creating multiple copies protects your business from losing any critical data. The 3–2–1 backup rule is an effective strategy that instantly removes any single point of failure. The belts and braces approach ensures that you can overcome nearly any failure scenario without any drama.

Keep at least three copies of your data

One backup is a step in the right direction, but it won’t protect you from every eventuality. It is advised to have the original copy and at least two backups to fully protect your data.

Keep the backups on two different storage types

A combination of cloud services such as Dropbox and physical backup on devices like pen drives and external hard disks will protect your company from any single point of failure.

Keep at least one copy of your data offsite

Having two backup copies of your critical data on two separate storage types will protect against most scenarios. But, local disasters such as a fire or flood could potentially wipe out both backups. Always ensure at least one backup is stored off site, this can be in a physical location or in the cloud.

There are four types of backups

The Full System Backup:Restore any computer to one point in time, and that includes all the data, applications and even the operating system by creating an exact image of the computer.

Differential Backup: A differential image stores the changes that have been made to the imaged file system since the last full image. Subsequent differentials can be taken, but only one differential and the full are required in order to fully restore the system.

Incremental Backup:The main difference with incremental images is that they only store file system changes since the last image, either full, differential or incremental. The resultant backup set therefore consists of a full image and a number of incremental images which must all be present in order to restore the system correctly. You can pick an Incremental to restore, Macrium Reflect will find the Full that it was based on (and any Incrementals in the “Chain” between the Full and the selected Incremental) and restore to the point-in-time that the chosen Incremental was made.

File and Folder Backup: a space-saving way to backup your working files, personal files and precious data. You can backup your Documents folder and save the backup as an XML file for easy re-running and scheduling. When you restore a file and folder backup, you can restore files to their original folder or restore the folder structure and selected files to a place of your choosing. Alternatively, if you want to restore individual files without their folder structure, you can mount the backup file as a drive, browse them using Windows Explorer and copy/paste them back to their original folder.

It’s not a case of if your company will be affected by hardware failures and cyber-attacks but when. However, it has never been easier to implement a disaster recovery plan that provides business continuity and data availability in the event of an IT disaster.

Check out Macrium Software Here: https://rainnetworks.com/ACRBOMacrium

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Building loyalty with the lonely IT Administrator https://www.acrbo.com/blog/building-loyalty-with-the-lonely-it-administrator https://www.acrbo.com/blog/building-loyalty-with-the-lonely-it-administrator#respond Thu, 28 Jun 2018 14:35:37 +0000 https://www.acrbo.com/?p=3680 For many IT Administrators, even those in large organisations, they are operating within a small, fragmented IT infrastructure. How do you ...

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For many IT Administrators, even those in large organisations, they are operating within a small, fragmented IT infrastructure. How do you address the challenges they face and meet their complex needs in backup and DR?

Some history

Up until recently, backup meant inserting an appropriately labelled tape in the backup tape drive and hoping that an incremental copy of the target machines is safely copied to the tape. DR involved sending one backup tape a month to an off-site location for secure storage. IT Administrators in both large and small enterprises became very familiar with this approach, and while the technology could be erratic, it provided a measure of reassurance that if the worst should happen there was a fallback option. As regards home users, well, they had limited options beyond keeping copies of critical files on floppy disks and hoping for the best.

Today the options for backup and DR are many and varied with the pace of innovation at an all-time high. Despite technical innovations, Backup and DR is sometimes regarded as a dark art, often a low priority when it comes to IT budget allocation in small and medium enterprises.

What is Driving Change in the Backup and DR space?

Over the past ten years, the primary innovation drivers in the Backup, Recovery and DR sectors have been; massive growth in storage capabilities and with it stored data, server virtualization, imaging technologies, IT Systems Management frameworks, and Cloud storage.

While the move to highly virtualized and integrated infrastructures has been getting the most attention, many businesses IT systems are still only partially virtual or not virtualized at all. The traditional, physical, Windows backup and DR sector have seen less visible coverage, however, the pace of innovation has been almost as high.

Backup to the Cloud is providing an increasingly reliable and cost effective storage option and is almost ubiquitous. The growth of Cloud backup, backup appliances, and hybrid software, has seen many new entrants in the past five years.

Large and Fragmented

When considering the backup and DR requirements of different organisations, the usual approach of vendors and their channel networks is to segment by size, then by level of server virtualization. Solutions are often focused on the highly virtualized data centre, however at Macrium Software we think the needs and complexity of the “local” IT infrastructure is just as important.

Many large organisations have very fragmented IT infrastructures because of branch offices scattered across countries and continents. While these branch offices may be part of an enormous enterprise, often the needs of the local IT Administrator are more closely aligned to those of an SME than a typical HQ centric large enterprise.

Looking after the Local IT Administrator

The data protection needs of the local IT Administrator, who is often isolated from HQ, or is managing multiple SME estates, can be distilled into four key areas. The solution must be straightforward to deploy, be fast, have exceptional reliability, and provide recovery/restore utilities that take minutes not hours. To understand this, one must look at the requirement from the perspective of the local IT Administrator. They will typically be working by themselves without the support of a large team or out of hours support.  They will be wearing many hats, covering all the IT needs from jammed printers to firewall security, and backup and DR. Anything that removes complexity from their responsibilities and provides peace of mind for backup and recovery will win their loyalty.

Because Backup and DR is often a low priority in IT Budgets, the buying decision is pushed down to the IT Administrators in small or fragmented infrastructures. If vendors pay attention to their needs (simplicity, speed, reliability, recoverability), then that solution will be favored.  Typically IT Administrators are likely to share their experiences with peers, through online forums or blogs, therefore the good news about backup and DR solutions will reach the broader community.

Macrium Software is focused on the needs of the local IT Administrator. We offer robust and cost effective backup and DR solutions, backed with excellent and knowledgeable tech support well matched to the needs of this busy IT professional.

Find out more

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