Dream a Website, Build a Reality

When you started building your business, how did you think about your business website?  Did you envision this glorious website that will bring potential customers on board and keep your current customers excited to work with you?  Or did you envision a simpler website that a person could view at a quick glance? Have you even began putting website ideas into action?

Whether you thought about it or not, creating a website can be complex. So before you dive head first, consider these 5 tips that will make your website dreams a reality.

1.) Planning is Key. You should understand the goals that your website is trying to accomplish for your business. Having a website for the sake of having one may not be the best approach, as the purpose of a website is to help your business grow. When planning for your website, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • “Is my website going to be used to drive revenue, lead conversions, building brand awareness, etc.?”. Decide how you are using the website to build your business.
  • “What type of technology should be used to accomplish my website goals?”. When you know how you will use your website, you have to consider what types of technology and software need to be in place to make sure those goals are met. Not all technology works the same as others, so figure out what works best for you and your business.
  • “Do I need to follow any type of compliance?”. If you are in specific fields like medical or legal, following special compliances is a must for protecting your customer information. Knowing how to protect that data can relate back to searching for the right technology.

2.) Learn How Google Reads and Ranks Websites. Google is a key factor to consider when building any website because it is one of the top search engines in the world. If you can learn how Google indexes websites and how to encourage your website to appear higher on a Google search page, you can then put your business in the forefront of the competition. How can you do that? Starting with looking into these options:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Build your website from the ground up using the right keywords, meta descriptions, and other SEO tools to help boost your appearance on Google.
  • Google my Business. Claim your business on Google, Bing, and other search engines.
  • Google Analytics. Monitor your website traffic through Google Analytics. Using this tool can allow you to see what is working for your website and what you could improve.

3.) WordPress Makes Website Creation Easy. WordPress is a top Content Management System (CMS) that 23% of the websites on the Internet use. It allows you the freedom to control your website, making changes easily and effectively. You could even compare editing pages on a WordPress website to typing content on a Microsoft Word document. It’s that easy. WordPress also makes your website more secure, as it is regularly updated by its parent company, Automattic. Additionally, WordPress has a strong and vast community of support where you can ask all of your WordPress-related questions.

4.) Don’t Set It and Forget It. Websites are living entities that need to have routine care. If your website doesn’t get its regular software updates, it can start falling apart and not work like it once did. Not keeping your website properly maintained and updated is similar to not maintaining your car. Without regular oil changes, tune ups, and mechanic checks, your car is bound to break down. A broken car equals more money spent. The same concept goes for a website that is being ill-maintained; more money will need to be spent to fix or rebuild it. You should also update your content so that it is relevant to the current times, including any changes in your organization. If your website is keeping up with the latest trends, potential customers will notice.

5.) Find a Great Host with Managed Services. You should research options for web hosting and the benefits that they offer you and your website. Having a web host who does the maintenance for you can take the worry out of your day-to-day activities. When you host with AtNetPlus, we routinely update all of our WordPress websites while also keeping an eye on any security issues. If anything occurs, we are quick to correct it to keep you connected, secured, and working.

Thinking about your dream website is one thing. Actually creating and utilizing your website for its intended use is another. It’s time to put your website ideas into action. Contact the AtNetPlus Web Team so we can start building your dream today.

Schedule a Free Website Consultation:

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Why Buy Local? The Future of Small Business

In a world full of big business and chain establishments, sometimes we forget that there are also smaller companies within our community that provide the same products and services. What you might not know is that even for large businesses purchasing and sourcing products and services from local businesses has great benefits. So what might those benefits be for you and your business?

When you use local businesses, you are helping give the local community job opportunities that would otherwise be non-existent. About 50% of jobs in the United States are through small businesses, which means that about half of the country wouldn’t have a workplace if it wasn’t for locally-owned businesses. Not only that, but money spent locally gets regenerated back into the community and helps boosts a healthier local economy.

Local businesses tend to provide higher levels of customer service since they employ locally and their employees are more familiar with the community and local area. You will know the people behind the product or service, so you know who and where your products or services are coming from. Likewise, locally-owned businesses mean the owner and employees personally know who their customers are and can tailor to their customer needs. They are also familiar with the geographical area, giving them more insight to what is needed within the community.

Another benefit of local businesses is the immediate customer support you can receive. AtNetPlus has been locally owned and operated for over 18 years. We are a small business in Northeast Ohio and when an IT issue hits your business, you can reach us to help provide the appropriate IT solutions quickly. If you used a larger business, you may find the customer support process more drawn out and a bit frustrating – with phone call transfer after phone call transfer before you finally come to an actual solution.

Additionally, small businesses provide a unique character to your community. Each small business in a town or city is like a rare gem that can only be found in that specific location. So when people outside of the community visit and ask about certain products and services, they can be treated to the distinctive experience of local businesses.

If you haven’t thought about buying or sourcing from local businesses, take a moment to consider the benefits. You won’t just be assisting a small business; you will be helping to build your community for today and for the future.

What small businesses do you buy or source from in your community? Let us know on Facebook, Linkedin, or tweet us @atnetplus.

How Can AtNetPlus Bring Strategy to Your Business?

Do you wonder how a Managed Services Provider (MSP) could bring strategy to your business? Or why you shouldn’t worry about your business technology when MSPs are out there to help. We recently interviewed 4 members of the AtNetPlus team – Jay Mellon (CEO), Jim Laber (President), Greg Cusick (Director of Client Solutions), and David Wells (Director of Business Development). Watch the video to see how AtNetPlus can bring peace-of-mind and technological strategy to your business.

 

1.) Why should I, as a Small Business Owner, use AtNetPlus for my technology and web need?

Jay Mellon: You know, we think as a small business owner, one of the reasons to select AtNetPlus is we’re small business owners too. And we understand some of the challenges and some of the opportunities associated with running a small to mid-sized business. Furthermore, we really, really understand technology and how it relates to business. We’ve been doing this a little while now, and we think we have a pretty good understanding of what our clients are looking for and how that fits into their technology needs.

Greg Cusick: I think it comes down to leveraging the power of the technical team that we have. As a small business owner, you shouldn’t have to worry about managing your network. You should focus on your business and let the managed service provider, like AtNetPlus, manage the computer network for you.

 

2.) What does it mean for AtNetPlus to be a Managed Service Provider?

David Wells: MSP (Managed Service Provider) can mean a lot of different things to different people. However, our point of view is one in which we can do everything be your entire IT organization right on down to a certain piece of your IT organization. What this can do is save money for our clients, in which they do not necessarily have to go out and hire people or buy hardware. In which we can provide those services for them and allowing them to stay in to their core of what they do well and let the IT to us.

Jim Laber: What it means to us is probably a little different than what it probably means to our clients. What it means to us is – you will have a stable network that you can depend on and that you don’t have to worry about. What it means to our clients, what it hopefully means, is they can focus on doing what they do best, which is whatever product or service or whatever offering they have, they can focus on that and not have to worry about the technology and how it’s working.

 

3.) How does AtNetPlus Choose the Services and Products that are Offered?

Greg Cusick: So we work with the customers to determine their wants and needs. And then we do our own research and evaluation and determine what we think would be best options for customers.

David Wells: So a lot of those are driven by the market and what the marketplace is demanding. Right now, for instance, security is huge in the marketplace and we feel that we have services that meet that timeliness of the market need.

 

4.) What does it mean to have an “AtNetPlus Certified Network”?

Jay Mellon: Well, an AtNetPlus Certified Network basically means that we’ve taken a look at the client environment and applied our years of experience and understanding of industry best practices and said that this particular network meets those standards. It gives our clients peace-of-mind that the technology that they invested in is going to meet the needs of their business going forward.

 

5.) What added value does AtNetPlus bring to a small business?

Jim Laber: I think the value that we bring is allowing the customers to focus on their business while we focus on the technology. And we try to make the technology be transparent to the users, which what that means is that their utilizing tools and they don’t think of it as work – they think of it as just a normal process. And the more we can make that go as smoothly as possible and make them realize that they don’t have to understand how it works, they just know it does work, makes us feel successful.

 

6.) What makes AtNetPlus different from other local providers?

Greg Cusick: We care about the customer. And we’re going into situations looking at what the customer wants and needs and trying best to accommodate that, while also including recommendations from our end. So, really what it comes down to is we care about the customer. And we’re there for them. We’re not there for us, we’re there for them.

Jay Mellon: You know, there’s a lot of great providers in our area and what makes AtNetPlus different is the way we do things. We’ve been in business for going on 18 years now. And through that time we’ve developed a lot of right way to do things and we’ve learned a lot of the ways we shouldn’t be doing things. And as a result, we’ve applied that to our processes and at the end of the day we think that results in a better experience for our clients.

 

7.) If I don’t know the first thing about technology for my business, where do I start?

Jim Laber: Call AtNetPlus. That would be the absolute best answer I could possibly give. Again, understanding that this is what we do, this is our passion. And on top of that, it’s not only our passion, but what we do believe in is – yes, we deliver technology as our offering but at the end of the day, we’re also very concerned with the level of service and the overall experience that you have in order for us to deliver that technology solution for you.

Greg Cusick: Start by contacting us, so we can sit down and go over what may make sense for you. Maybe it’s just a simple evaluation of the network. Maybe it’s just a discussion to see what you’re comfortable with and where we need to go next.

Don’t Worry About Your Business Security With AtNetShield

Owning a small or medium-sized business (SMB) can be tough. There are numerous small pieces that need to come together to create one big picture of the company vision, while also trying to produce growth and revenue. With so many aspects of running a company to consider, sometimes network security can get thrown on the back burner. No big deal, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t the case.

What most SMBs don’t realize is that they can be a bigger target for cyber threats and security breaches than the larger companies that are shown in the media. This is mainly due to the assumption by cyber criminals that SMBs don’t have as much money to spend on proper security protocol like the bigger businesses do. Although good antivirus and firewalls and regular updates of your network are necessary tools for business owners, educating your employees of potential threats and how to handle them can be even more crucial to protecting your business.
 

Why is Security Important?

Cyber threats continually change as technology evolves, but there are specific threats that can affect your network. In 2015, the estimated annual cost of cybercrime reached almost $450 billion dollars. Unfortunately, human error makes up the majority of successful cyber-attacks – where 90%-95% of attacks being traced back to Phishing emails.

Although there are many different types of cyber threats, the currently increasing threat is Phishing. As the name implies, Phishing allows criminals to gather your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) by luring users to click on URLs, attachments, and other questionable means. Phishing attempts are commonly active through emails, phone calls, and even social media.

For many, identifying a Phishing email or phone call can seem like common sense. However, cyber criminals are starting to personalize these attempts as time moves forward. Because of this, regular training and education of how to spot a Phishing attempt is becoming increasingly important.
 

The Complete Security Solution

The best way to combat human error is with knowledge and education, but how can you possibly train an entire staff to recognize potential threats? You have an ally with AtNetShield, the complete security solution for your business. Our AtNetShield team can assist in security awareness training for possible threats, as well as pinpointing security improvements and vulnerabilities in your network. With our three stages of security services – Educate, Execute, and Defend – you can help safeguard your business and your data.
 

Educate your Business

Knowledge is your most powerful tool against cyber threats. Knowing what threats are out there and how to identify them can greatly increase your network protection.

Think of it like this:

Joe and John work for the same company. They both regularly receive emails, but Joe has never heard of Phishing emails or how to identify them. One day, a Phishing email is sent to both Joe and John. John uses the hovering technique and his knowledge of Phishing email signs to identify the email as a fake. Joe, on the other hand, doesn’t recognize the signs and believes the email to be real. He clicks the URL provided, which then sends him to a fake website. He fills out a list of questions, some involving his Social Security Number and banking account, and submits. Joe now has submitted personal information to a nefarious person. Joe also clicked the attachment provided in the email. Unbeknownst to Joe, clicking that attachment also sent out a virus infection to his computer, which in turn can spread to and take down his company’s network.

This false scenario may seem slightly exaggerated (and in some ways, it is), but these things truly do happen. People that are unfamiliar with cyber threats willingly give out PII or click infected URLs or attachments that can eventually infected an entire network.

Phishing isn’t the only common threat that can take down your network. CryptoLocker is a ransomware Trojan that locks you out of files. The infection creator requests ransom from the user in return for an encryption key to their files. Unfortunately, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee the retrieval of your files and it highly recommended that you don’t pay the requested “ransom”. Instead, you want to create regular backups of your files that are encrypted before an infection occurs. This way, the encryption hides your data. Also, in the case of an infection, you will have backups to restore and nothing is lost.

This is why cyber threat education and training is highly crucial to any business. It only takes one person to bring down an entire network. With the first stage of AtNetShield, Educate, you can inform and train your team to help protect your network from attacks.

Once your team is in the know of cyber threats, you can then start planning for the future of your network.
 

Execute the Roadmap

We’ve all heard the old English proverb “You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been”.  This concept goes with your business network. To improve your business, you must know where your network is the most vulnerable. Learning where improvements for your network can be made will further help protect your business from cyber-attacks.

The second stage of AtNetShield, Execute, allows you to obtain a detailed security roadmap of your network while giving recommendations of what can be enhanced for stronger security. With these comprehensive reports, you receive a clear roadmap and communication charter that can be immediately acted upon. You can also budget your priorities to better plan for your business’ future.

With all this knowledge of your business network at your fingertips, it is time to put that information to the test.
 

Defend your Network

If someone told you they wanted to attempt to hack into your business network, you would probably give them an untrusting look and laugh. However, in the right hands, this is not such a bad thing.

As one part of the third and final stage of AtNetShield, Defend, we will run a Network Penetration (PEN) test to safely comprise your security environment to find network vulnerabilities. Through a detailed analysis report, you will be able to see your network security through a new light. You will have a true view of how secure your network is, allowing for fixes to protect your network even further.

Knowing where vulnerabilities in your network lie is only part of Defend. Regular reporting, monitoring, and data collecting is needed to make sure your network is keeping up with ever-changing technology.  Security Information and Event Management (more commonly known as SIEM) will provide real-time analysis of your business network. The information from SIEM reports can further enlighten you of vulnerability points and tune into the network to assist in predicting possible security incidents. SIEM is one of the best ways to minimize threats. You can leverage the power of data against cyber criminals and allow for the proper actions to be taken.
 

Protect your Network Today

With the three stages of AtNetShield – Educate, Execute, and Defend – your business network and information will have an increased protection against cyber-attacks.

It is time to take action because your Personal Identifiable Information is like a treasure, and like all treasures – it needs protected. It is time to safeguard your valued treasure from nefarious criminals who look to take it. The best part is you don’t have to do it alone; you have an ally with AtNetShield.

Keep your business educated, executed, and defended with the greatest security tool: knowledge.

Want to know how AtNetShield can help your business?     [button link=”http://atnetplus.com/contact/” text=”Contact Us for More Information” bgcolor=”#ff883c” color=”#ffffff”]

Your Network Should be AtNetPlus Certified

Network protection and maintenance are such an important part of any business. As our valued AtNetEdge clients, we want to make sure your business network is AtNetPlus Certified.

ANPCertified1

An AtNetPlus Certified Network seal affirms that your business has an approach to applying the best practices of leading industry standards. It shows the stability of your network and the measures you take to keep your business up and running – certifying that your network is properly setup to support your business and its future.

With technology always evolving, it is becoming more and more crucial for your network to be protected from threats. You can rest assure that all your equipment and licenses are up-to-date, protecting your business from vulnerabilities and alleviating security gaps found within your network.

Better security also means less network downtime. The less pause your business has, the more it can continue to run smoothly and efficiently.

We recognize the value of a secure and properly designed and maintained network, so you should too. All of your business information technology is in trusted hands with AtNetPlus.

Interested in becoming an AtNetPlus Certified Network or have questions? Contact us and we’ll be happy to get you started.

Your Network Should be AtNetPlus Certified

Network protection and maintenance are such an important part of any business. As our valued AtNetEdge clients, we want to make sure your business network is AtNetPlus Certified.

ANPCertified1

An AtNetPlus Certified Network seal affirms that your business has an approach to applying the best practices of leading industry standards. It shows the stability of your network and the measures you take to keep your business up and running – certifying that your network is properly setup to support your business and its future.

With technology always evolving, it is becoming more and more crucial for your network to be protected from threats. You can rest assure that all your equipment and licenses are up-to-date, protecting your business from vulnerabilities and alleviating security gaps found within your network.

Better security also means less network downtime. The less pause your business has, the more it can continue to run smoothly and efficiently.

We recognize the value of a secure and properly designed and maintained network, so you should too. All of your business information technology is in trusted hands with AtNetPlus.

Interested in becoming an AtNetPlus Certified Network or have questions? Contact us and we’ll be happy to get you started.