Monthly Archives

February 2018

The Buyers Guide to the Best File Recovery Software

By | File Recovery

How to Choose the Best File Recovery Software

If you want to avoid losing all of your important business data, finding the best file recovery software is a definite necessity.

Losing your business data is a nightmare you never want to face.

With the best file recovery software, you’ll never need to worry about losing your data. This is something you should invest in as soon as possible. However, some recovery software is better than others.

What’s the best file recovery software you should use for your business? In this guide, we’ll break down all the things you should look for before you choose. Keep reading to learn how to keep your files safe.

Why Use File Recovery Software?

Why do you need software for file recovery? Let’s take a closer look at the reasons it’s so important.

1. Your Data is Vulnerable

All of your data is a potential target for threats.

There are many different types of attacks that can get your data lost or stolen – and new ones are always coming up. Whether you have a large or small business, your data needs to be protected. Did you know that 43 percent of cyber attacks affect small businesses?

Your data can get accidentally deleted by an inexperienced employee. A virus can cause it to disappear. Hackers can go in and mess things up so you can no longer access your important information.

2. Data Loss Happens Fast

There’s no way to predict when your data is going to get lost or stolen. It happens fast, and you need to be prepared at all times.

All it takes is a small error and your files can be permanently deleted. Human error can be a factor, but your software can also malfunction unexpectedly. Of course, natural disasters can also wipe out the hardware where your files are stored.

Data is easy to lose in the course of day-to-day business activities. This isn’t just something that happens to “other businesses” – it can happen to you.

3. Data Loss Costs You Money

When you lose your data, your business has to stop operating until you can get things back in order.

Halting operations can cause you to hemorrhage money. These losses can be incredibly hard to recover from, especially if you’re a small business.

Not only that, but the efforts to rebuild your data can be expensive, too. You can end up feeling like you’re starting over from scratch.

If your business doesn’t have many spare resources, you can’t afford the losses that come with not having data protection.

4. Not All Data Can be Replaced

Some of your data will actually be irreplaceable. If you lose customer contact information, for example, you might not be able to get it back.

This can make resuming operations even more difficult for your business, causing a major setback that can take years to recover from.

5. Data Loss Damages Your Reputation

If you lose important client information, those clients might take their business elsewhere.

Data loss can also mean a security breach. Many people won’t trust a company that doesn’t keep their data safe. Having to explain a data loss situation to your clients can be embarrassing and do permanent damage to your reputation.

Can you afford to have a lot of your customers leave? How about getting a host of negative online reviews? Many businesses, large and small, won’t be able to recover from this kind of event.

Fortunately, the best file recovery software can prevent this from happening in the first place.

What to Look for in the Best File Recovery Software

The best file recovery software for your business depends on what your specific needs are. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind while making your choice.

1. System Compatability

When you choose file recovery software, you’ll need to make sure it’s compatible with the system you currently have. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use it at all.

The best data recovery software will also let you view your damaged files before you retrieve them, so you know exactly what you’re getting. It should also let you recover files in different formats.

2. Available Features

Next, you should make sure your file recovery software has the features you need and want.

Your software needs to be able to retrieve your files and recover data in a variety of different situations. There are many reasons you may need to recover your files – can your software meet all your needs?

3. Performance

How well can your file recovery software stand up to the task?

It doesn’t matter if the software is compatible with your system and has all the best features if it doesn’t do what it needs to. Performance is key – you need reliable software that can really get your files back.

Read customer reviews and testimonials to find out how well the software has worked for other people, so you can know that you’re making the right choice.

4. Necessary Updates

Make sure you’re getting the latest version of the data recovery software you choose. Otherwise, you’ll have to spend more time and money getting the updates you need for the software to work.

Old software won’t be able to recover your new files, so don’t try to save money by getting an outdated version.

5. Ease of Use

Using your file recovery software shouldn’t be a struggle. Even if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge, you should be able to use the software and get your files back.

Does the software come with a step-by-step guide you can follow? Does the company offer customer support? If not, you may have a difficult time getting your files back.

6. Experience

Your data recovery software should come from a company that’s experienced in the industry. Choose software made by a well-rated, well-reviewed company that knows the latest methods to get data back.

Ready for the Best File Recovery Software?

Don’t sleep on getting data recovery software. Take the steps to protect your data now, and you’ll prevent serious problems in the future.

Looking for a data recovery provider that’s effective, easy to use, and offers customer support? Then you need Earthwave – check out what we can do to prevent data loss for your business here.

What is Webmail Hosting, and Why Does it Matter?

By | Webmail

What is Webmail Hosting, and Why Does it Matter?

Are you wondering whether webmail hosting is right for your business? Here’s what you need to know about what it is and why it matters.

Despite repeated claims that email is dead, or dying, email remains a primary form of communication. People sent and received around 269 billion emails every day in 2017.

It remains popular for companies due to its ease of use and the ability to sort and retrieve information within the inbox. Companies can choose from webmail hosting, on-site email hosting, or free providers like Gmail.

With such an array of options, why would you choose webmail? Read on to discover what it is and why it matters to your business.

What is Webmail Hosting?

As the name implies, it applies to webmail sent via dedicated servers. It provides a useful alternative to those companies who don’t have the space for physical email servers on their premises.

Other companies, such as Earthwave, step in to host your emails on their specialized servers.

This gives you easy access to your emails from anywhere in the world. You can retrieve your emails using Outlook (or similar) on your laptop or mobile device.

Or use your internet browser when you’re away from the office so you don’t need additional software or mobile apps.

You can also auto-forward emails to a service like Gmail and retrieve them alongside your personal emails. With this option, you can choose which email address to send from, so clients and customers still see your business address.

Check the settings available with your web host. POP and IMAP protocols dictate the access to and reading of, the emails. An SMTP protocol handles sending the emails.

Using Hosting Services Gives You a Professional Email Address.

Imagine you’re a customer looking for the services your business provides. You find a handful of options and you check their details to make contact for a quote.

Four businesses use Gmail or Yahoo email addresses. The fifth option has a custom email address, such as info@thisbusiness.com.

Which business strikes you as more professional?

While you could use a Gmail app for business, it costs money per user to set up email addresses. That may not matter if you’re a small business, but what happens when you grow? Each new employee costs more per month.

Using webmail hosting works out cheaper since you add aliases for new users into an existing account.

You can also avoid worries about inbox size. Free providers boast capacities of 15GB or so. But you can talk to your webmail provider about scaling your capacity as your business grows.

You’ve even got the flexibility to decrease storage capacity if that suits you better.

Get Better Access to Support If Things Go Wrong.

We often don’t notice downtime for large providers like Hotmail or Gmail. But who do we turn to when things go wrong?

Accessing support is quick and easy with a dedicated webmail hosting solution. Good webmail hosts will allow 24-hour access. They should benefit from regular performance monitoring to identify issues before they become problems.

Within the realm of support, you also have access to better safety processes. Webmail hosting offers firewalls, spam filters, and anti-virus functionality to provide a safer email environment for your employees.

This level of security has an unexpected benefit. If you’ve ever used free email solutions online, you’ll know the web pages are cluttered with advertising.

The providers place those adverts by ‘skimming’ your emails to create a profile about you. They serve adverts based on those likes or dislikes determined by the contents of your emails.

Using webmail hosting sidesteps this problem since the pages focus on your inbox and folders. You won’t see any advertising on webmail pages and no one skims your emails for information about you.

Your Email Marketing Depends on a Custom Domain.

86% of companies prefer email as a communication tool for business purposes. Offering incentives for website visitors to sign up for a mailing list is common practice.

If you’re building your email list then you need a customized email address to send communications from.

Few of the big providers, such as MailChimp or Convertkit, like businesses send emails to your list if your ‘sent from’ email address is Gmail, or Yahoo etc.

While you can use your free account, the email marketing providers won’t add your sent-from email address to your verified domains. Such measures help prevent email scams.

How it Works.

Once you send the email to your list, it goes through a DMARC (Domain Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) check.

It validates the email to make sure the domain in your ‘from’ address matches the domain it’s sent through.

When you use webmail hosting, your promotional emails pass this check and continue en route to their destination.

If you use a free email provider, the DMARC check involves an extra step. When the email fails the check, the system looks at the policy held by the domain owner. If that’s set up properly, the email goes through.

But some free email providers hold a policy that stops emails going through if they fail the DMARC check. The email never arrives in the subscriber’s inbox.

Domain owners can set DMARC policies that tell receiving servers how to handle mail that appears to come from their domain but has failed the DMARC check. Often, free email domains have policies that tell these receiving servers to immediately reject mail that fails DMARC. The mail is then returned to the sender.

Is Webmail Hosting Right for You?

You’ve seen how email hosting provides a secure, ad-free environment for your inbox. With a flexible plan, you can increase storage and add new users with ease.

You and your employees can access your emails in whatever format suits you best; use a browser, your mobile device, or Outlook on your computer. Your setup depends on how you like to work.

Finally, if you want to use email marketing (and you should), then you’ll need a custom domain to work with the best email marketing providers.

If webmail hosting sounds like the next step for your business, get in touch. We can discuss a solution customized to your needs.

How VOIP Phone Services Can Save Your Business Money

By | VOIP

How VOIP Phone Services Can Save Your Business Money

Are you looking for new ways to save money for your business? Here’s why VOIP phone services are a good option for you to consider.

Looking for more ways to save money for your business?

Wondering if VoIP phone services are right for you?

Whether you realize it or not, VoIP phone services can improve your business. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is convenient and it can help your business save money.

How?

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about how.

1. Less Investment Upfront

Compared to a traditional PBX (private branch exchange), VoIP has little upfront costs.

PBX requires more equipment and expensive installation, whereas VoIP services have a simple sign up online and a small price for setup.

The only equipment is a few phone adapters, which you can use with your existing phones.

You also won’t need phone lines to operate a VoIP service. Instead, it will use existing broadband internet connections.

VoIP phone services integrate with what you already have, keeping your business running smoothly.

2. Easier Maintenance

In addition to the money you’ll save upfront, you’ll also spend less on VoIP phone maintenance.

Since VoIP works over the cloud, you don’t need too many technicians. The service provider themselves maintain all of the equipment.

As a general rule, the more equipment your business has, the more money it costs to maintain it.

A PBX system, for example, includes a cabinet filled with electronics kept in the office. It requires a large initial cost, plus monthly charges to update it.

When you use VoIP services, however, the software is easy to deal with. The system updates itself either by using open source code or as part of the VoIP monthly service fee.

You’ll also own less equipment. As a result, you’ll save more energy and resources. You’ll devote less time to system maintenance and more time to running your business.

With VoIP, you don’t have to worry about anything, saving you stress as well as money.

3. Lower Monthly Bills When Using VoIP Phone Services

When you use a VoIP service, you won’t have as big a phone bill every month. A low, fixed monthly charge will allow you to make as many calls as you need. However, you will pay a little extra for international calls.

With VoIP, you don’t need the phone company. You use the service over data networks instead. You don’t have to set up a separate phone system network.

Since calls will be made using data, they won’t eat up the minutes available on a mobile phone plan.

VoIP also comes with services like voicemail, call hold, conference calls, and faxing. It’s everything you need in one package, for one price, and you can pick what you want. You won’t have to pay for any features you don’t use.

You’ll know exactly what you’re paying each month, too. With VoIP, there are no hidden fees or surprise costs, perfect for planning a budget.

4. Increased Productivity and Efficiency

VoIP phone services will also increase productivity in your business. It will make your entire company more efficient, leading to higher profits in the long run.

VoIP will unify your team’s communication, blurring the line between office phone and mobile phone. With VoIP services, your employees will communicate better than ever, easily collaborating on projects and finishing daily tasks.

With that better communication comes increased mobility. Employees can communicate with other team members, even during their daily commute.

Increased mobility works even better if you employ remote workers. Wherever team members are, a VoIP system will enable everyone to have access. The whole team will have the same features and tools on-site workers do.

VoIP services can also better communication with customers and clients. You can respond to requests whenever necessary.

When a customer calls, a VoIP provider will link directly to stored customer data, easing the customer service process.

VoIP phone services effectively bring your entire business together, giving you greater profitability and success over time.

5. More Scalability

VoIP phone services are incredibly scalable. Compared to other communication systems, VoIP works perfect for small and large businesses alike; it has the ability to grow with you.

VoIP services’ scale depends on how many phone numbers you need. If an employee leaves the company, for example, you can easily delete their number from the system, leaving room for new hires.

Features included with your service are also scalable. You only have to pay for the features you use. The provider won’t tack on anything extra, letting you know exactly what to expect.

With VoIP, you won’t need to invest in a lot of equipment as your business expands nor will you have to worry about switching to a different service provider if you reach a certain size.

By having a scalable VoIP service, you’ll save a lot on costs. You’ll have a perfect service for your business no matter what size it is.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see why a VoIP phone service can be a great help for your business.

Unlike some other decisions, choosing to use VoIP services isn’t a hard one. The savings you’ll gain from this scalable, low-cost VoIP solution can’t be ignored.

Looking for the best services to improve your business network? Got more questions about VoIP services? Maybe you have a success story you want to share?

Log on to our website today to learn more about how Earthwave can help your business succeed. From there, feel free to contact us with any of your questions.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

What You Need to Know About Data Security Solutions

By | Data Security

What You Need to Know About Data Security Solutions

Data security solutions are essential to keep your business’s and your customers’ data protected. Here’s what you need to know when exploring options.

What’s your company’s data worth? How valuable are your customer records, production process, and secret formulas?

Data might only comprise only part of what your company is worth. But it’s critical and unique to your business.

Look at it this way. If you lost your offices or all your inventory, you’d have a financial setback. But if you lost your data, especially to a competitor, it could be catastrophic to the health of your business.

No business can risk having data leak from their organization. That’s why there’s data loss prevention (DPL). And, why we’re going to share what you need to know to make it part of your operation.

What Is Data Loss Prevention?

Data loss prevention (DLP) is software that identifies, monitors, and protects confidential data. The data can be in use or in motion on the network. It can be in permanent or temporary storage on servers, desktops, laptops and mobile devices used anywhere within the company.

DLP is designed to keep sensitive data inside your organization where it belongs. It’s a quiet workhorse.

Software designed to protect against cyber attacks and other external threats get a lot of attention. But data loss protection technology isn’t on everyone’s radar.

On one hand, this is good. Record-breaking security breaches from external sources compel every business to stop malware and viruses.

But did you know that internal leaks are also on the rise? Most are inadvertent but are no less serious.

Strategies

Software is at the core of data loss prevention. But it’s not plug-and-play.

Every organization must develop a strategy for how they’ll use the software.

To develop a strong, responsive strategy, IT leadership and team must:

  1. Prioritize data based on business risk
  2. Classify and categorize the data
  3. Understand at what points data is at risk
  4. Develop controls and communicate how they work and who they affect
  5. Monitor all data movement and document common paths
  6. Train support staff and end-users, providing continuous guidance and support
  7. Establish a rollout plan for initial implementation and subsequent updates

Implementing data loss prevention solutions without a strategy is a high-risk choice. There’s a good chance that some sensitive data will be missed or emphasis will be placed on low-value data.

Policies

In this context, think of policies as rules. Policies dictate, at a digital level, how data can be stored, moved, and shared. They are a critical part of developing controls.

Data loss prevention policies use data classification and categories. Based on that information, they define acceptable paths for moving data. They also establish the points at which data must stop.

For example, let’s consider data classified as sensitive or categorized as customer records. A policy for those kinds of data should make it impossible for any data-point to be posted to Twitter.

Policies help prevent inadvertent as well as intentional sharing of sensitive data.

Scope of Protection

It’s important to know that protection doesn’t happen at the network level. Instead, protection is applied to the data itself. This means it works on any part of the network, all devices, and any user account.

With protection attached to the data itself, the scope of protection is wider than the network.

For example, with the right policies and configuration, any data that does leave the network, say, by email, can be automatically encrypted. That encrypted data can then only be read by the devices you specify even if they are outside the network.

Speed of Protection

Despite protection being at the data level, data loss prevention doesn’t involve screening each packet of data. Doing so would slow network performance, making it impractical.

Instead, the software uses those classifications determined by strategy and governed by policies to add tags to data. Tags are added whenever data is added or modified.

From that point, the tags are read and policies enforced. This makes the process quick yet fully visible and easy to control.

Stakeholders

It’s worth noting that stakeholders go beyond the folks in IT.

Companies that involve relevant business areas in the early stages of data loss prevention implementation encounter fewer issues down the road. Such areas could include marketing, customer service, sales, and finance.

The point is to give key people from each business area an opportunity share how they do or might move sensitive data.

For example, marketing analysts might want to pull customer records to determine trends when planning a campaign. There’s nothing malicious in that. Using that data could mean the difference between a successful campaign and a dud.

If the folks developing the strategy for preventing data loss know about this need, they can write appropriate policies that don’t impede business drivers. At the same time, the market analysts can be informed about limits on using the data.

Solutions

There are several popular providers of data loss prevention solutions. These include Cisco, RSA, Forcepoint, and Symantec.

Each has its own way of adding protection, integrating with systems, and providing reports and other insights.

Determining which solution is right for your business can take time and a fair amount of research.

At Earthwave, our team is well-versed in the strengths of each solution and in which environments they work best.

We work with companies of all sizes in the Washington, D.C. area to help them find and implement data loss prevention and other services. Efficiency and effectiveness are always top goals.

We share our insights to help our clients make the most of their resources. At every step, from planning through to rollout and project warranty periods, we’re there to help ensure success.

Don’t let data leak from your business. Contact us today to be better protected tomorrow.

Why Server Uptime Monitoring and Maintenance is so Important

By | Uptime-Monitoring

Why Network Uptime Monitoring and Maintenance?

For your business’s website, network uptime is essential to the success of your online business. Here’s why monitoring and maintenance are so essential.

The heart of your business stops beating when your network is down. Monitoring and maintaining network uptime prevents this disaster from happening. Are you giving the health of your network the attention it needs?

Maintaining uptime has been a challenge since businesses first adopted on-premise solutions. IT professionals long celebrated the move to cloud networks as an evolutionary step. But 80% of IT budgets are still spent on only “keeping the lights on.”

Downtime accounts for massive losses in computing power as well. Enterprise data centers deliver only 5% – 15% of their total computing power per year. This is due in part to mismanaged monitoring and maintenance.

Monitoring network uptime involves identifying and neutralizing threats to a network’s integrity. Maintenance is the ongoing optimization of that network integrity to defend against threats. This involves conducting simple upgrades or even broad changes at the policy level.

Types of Networks for Your Business

The risks of neglecting monitoring and maintenance are not always obvious. But problems could be mounting to bring about disaster.

But what are the threats to network uptime? And what can IT professionals do to stop them?

Generally, your network’s every touchpoint poses threats to its integrity. Their origins can come from systemic problems and even human error. But the nature and severity of these problems vary depending on network type.

Enterprise companies host networks in large, monitored datacenters. These data-processing powerhouses support complex eCommerce websites and Big Data analytics. Their dedicated networks need advanced uptime monitoring and maintenance strategies.

Small businesses use dedicated networks as well. These are the best choices when performance is essential. But they place all the updating and security responsibilities on those businesses.

Cloud networks are highly flexible. Cloud providers can scale services with your business and offer monitoring and maintenance solutions. The downside is dealing with that third party when your network uptime is at risk.

Businesses also combine cloud and dedicated networks to create hybrid networks. This allows them to control key data and applications in a dedicated network environment. They can optimize their use of cloud network technology with key capabilities as well.

8 of the Biggest Threats to Your Network Uptime

There are risks and advantages in every network solution. You must decide which delivers the best value for your business. But incorporate operational risk management into your decision making.

Network uptime monitoring and maintenance is a component of broader risk management. This strategy determines potential threats and includes them when determining business value.

Consider the following threats to your network uptime. The server solution you choose will influence your sensitivity to these threats. These should all be included when developing an IT strategy for your business.

1. Hardware Failure

Hardware failure is most common for companies using dedicated networks. It occurs when equipment is used too heavily or becomes outdated. It can be disastrous for these businesses.

Companies who use only on-premise solutions will have no recourse for lost data. Many companies use cloud-based disaster recovery to protect against this risk. But recovery will be long and costly, no matter the circumstances.

2. Security Flaws

Security flaws are among the most common threats to network uptime. Companies who don’t update software for the latest threats open doors to malicious viruses. Many companies overlook security flaws because they don’t prioritize them.

Monitoring and maintaining proper security is a critical to network uptime. That’s because this threat involves outside entities that intend to damage your IT infrastructure. These threats are always evolving, so updates are essential.

3. Software and OS Failure

As companies grow, they demand more operational support from their software. Some companies can’t anticipate the risks caused by that additional strain. Failure to update one’s OS then leads to software failure.

The foundation of your digital solutions should evolve with those solutions. Your maintenance team should keep your OS updated to support all business needs.

4. Ill-Equipped IT Teams

Even the best policies fail when IT teams aren’t equipped to implement them. Companies who leverage cloud newtorks benefit from third party expertise. But even local IT teams must work laterally with cloud solution providers to maintain uptime.

5. Integration or Interoperability Issues

We discussed how additional strain can lead to OS or software failure. Complications from integrating new software can jeopardize network uptime as well. This stems from incompatibility between two systems.

Monitoring solutions prevent teams from attempting such integrations. They help IT teams develop safe pathways to leverage those desired capabilities.

6. Slow or Lack of Updating

Cloud providers regularly update their networks to keep clients happy. If you’re using a dedicated network, you’re fully responsible for updates. Failing to make these updates leads to inoperability and downtime.

Employ a monitoring team that maintains updates as a procedure. Making timely updates is an easy way to prevent disaster.

7. Improper Documentation

Aside from security flaws, human error is the biggest threat to uptime. Even IT professionals make mistakes when sharing information. You must employ documentation policies as part of your maintenance initiative.

Leading companies in IT and medical industries adhere to strict documentation standards. It’s a challenge to implement rigorous standards in-house. Consider partnering with a network maintenance expert for proper support.

8. Inadequate or Infrequent Monitoring

Monitoring is at the foundation of preventing network downtime. Even the best policies won’t protect you unless your team is on alert. Many of the problems we’ve discussed will happen without proper monitoring.

Your profit-driving initiatives depend on IT as a foundation. That’s why both monitoring and maintenance must be systemic. Only then can you drive business value and secure IT peace of mind.

Keep the Heart of Your Business Beating

Don’t take the easy route with your IT investment. You need a holistic approach to monitoring and maintaining uptime. No matter your business, staying operational is its foundation for success.

Earthwave protects your network from both inside and outside threats. We prevent the loss of your data and support business continuity. We ensure your network health is always at 100%.

Contact us today to begin your 360-degree evaluation. We promise the best value and support for long-term business success.