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Detecting Hidden IT Dangers

Tech Tips: Detecting Hidden IT Dangers

Eddie Phillips REP4 Tech Tips #8 iStock_000012477798SmallRight now, without touching your mouse, can you state this information about your computer, or for business owners, your server?

  • Is your Anti-Virus Software up to date?
  • How much free disk space do you have available?
  • Are your backups running successfully?
  • What is the status of your Hard Drive, is it on its last legs, is failure imminent?
  • Are there errors that happen on a frequent basis that are indicating that there is something seriously wrong with your computer or worse, that someone is trying to hack into your computer?

Ok, be honest, how many could you answer? The average user can usually answer the first one and unless they know they are out of disk space already, don’t usually know the answer to the second question.  Regarding the third point, most computer owners, unfortunately, are not backing up their data or if they are, cannot confidently state that the backups are running successfully. (See Tech Tips #3 at If you didn’t know how to check the last two items or didn’t know it was possible to check, don’t worry, it isn’t common knowledge.

What’s the point? For those of you who did know the answers to all of the above, or knew how to get the information, these items are rarely checked. In order To gather all of this information it would take ten to fifteen minutes per day, equating to five hours a month, multiplied by the number of computers you have. It adds up fast, plus, who wants to spend the time checking this information, even if it could lead to saving you days of recovering personal pictures or business data?  These types of failures always seem to occur when you are in a rush to finish a report, get an important email or just placed some sentimental pictures on your computer, don’t they? In spite of that, we carry on at the mercy of the fates of blue screen errors, viruses and bad hard drives.

The good news, the great news The good news is there are tools out there that are inexpensive to perform these actions and let you know ahead of time that there are problems. The great news is there are companies out there that will not only provide these tools, but will monitor the results letting you know when to take action – and they’ll do it for about the price of a coffee and a doughnut per week. Yes, for less than the amount of change you have in your car’s cup holder you can now be informed on the health of your computer. The process is simple, your service provider installs a small application on your computers or server and alerts you or the service provider to any issues that may arise. These are issues that can have a huge impact on your personal or business computers, computer hacking attempts, anti-virus failures, power outage or loss of Internet connectivity and even backup failure, just to name the most common.

Information for everyone This type of service is even a fantastic tool for businesses that have their own IT staff to be used as an early warning system so they can deal with issues before they become apparent. Small and medium businesses (SMBs) often bundle this service with an ongoing maintenance agreements to reduce IT costs.  While it is less common for residential computer owners to use a service like this, the money, stress and inconvenience savings are ideal!   To find a service provider that offers this convenience, look for your local Managed Service Provider (MSP). This is different than your local computer repair shop, but they may be able to point you in the right direction.

Build confidence in your computer systems by taking advantage of these inexpensive safe guards. For less than a trip to the local coffee shop you can protect your computer from some of the most common computer mishaps that can impact you and your business.

Eddie Phillips is the President of REP4 Technologies Inc. in Selkirk, Manitoba. Eddie is a 16 year IT veteran using his experiences from working for  Microsoft, Texas Instruments and HP to grow technological awareness throughout the Interlake. For past articles, visit or if you have any questions on this Tech Tips article email him at

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