The Thurston, Pierce, Lewis, and Mason Counties IT Experts


We work hard behind the scenes so annoying technology issues don't slow your business down.

Our mission is to help businesses like yours increase productivity and get more out of the technology you invest in.
We specialize in solutions that safeguard and protect your data and keep operations running smoothly.

Managed IT Services

Intelligent remote monitoring, proactive maintenance, and behind-the-scenes remote support.

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Network Security

Protect your business from threats like malware, viruses, phishing attacks, hackers and other threads.

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Backup & Disaster Recovery

Ensure peace-of-mind in any situation with the most complete data backup solution available.

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Cloud Hosting Solutions

Reduce infrastructure costs, collaborate, and get more done with our unique cloud solutions.

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understanding shadow itUnauthorized software can be a major pain for network administrators.

When a business sets out to add to their IT, they often choose the solutions based on their immediate needs. This is because when trying to look to the future an organization cannot know what obstacles will pop up. For this reason your organization’s IT department, whether you have in-house IT technicians or you utilize managed IT services from PC Technologies, has to be the ones that handle the implementation and management of your crucial IT.

With so many malignant situations to navigate and threats to squelch, having a dedicated software deployment strategy for all of your company’s needs is important. Many of today’s workers have a layman’s understanding of IT, and a decent understanding of the computers they use day-in and day-out, as they often use similar products outside of the office. As a result, today it is not uncommon for an employee to have several pieces of software on their workstation or device that hasn’t been approved for use by the organization. This is what is known as Shadow IT, and there are significant threats that every business owner, network administrator, and end-user will need to acknowledge in order to keep your organization safe.

Reasons for Shadow IT

In the continuous race that is business, sometimes end-users will find solutions that may do more harm than good.

Many times, workers will have everything they need to do their stated jobs. This includes hardware and software solutions. Typically, a business will buy licensed software that has need vetted by the IT department as secure and reliable for the production needs of a business. Any other software on the company-owned-and-managed workstation, tablet, or smartphone is Shadow IT. This can be simple titles such as third-party weather or traffic applications or games, but more often than not, they are applications users have downloaded deliberately to help them stay productive.

Shadow IT is often present in the software development world, where developers are constantly searching for software that can produce higher efficiencies in the management process, as well as the testing of new applications. This extraordinarily complex and time consuming construct isn’t the only place you can find Shadow IT, however. In many organizations, where there is no true uniformity to a software deployment strategy, and department heads decide what software works best for their departments, an organization’s IT administrators are often mistakenly kept out of the loop.

The Detriments of Unauthorized Software

Can an organization’s data and network security really be tested by unapproved applications?

For years, the manner in which companies deployed solutions necessitated them buying software titles and subsequently purchasing licenses for that software as needed to fill organizational demand. This model has been used for decades. With the introduction of Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, it made available strong software titles that are often less expensive, service-based, or completely free-to-use. Since the average computer user today has access to more powerful computing apparati outside of their office, many users don’t see the harm in trying to improve their productivity by integrating applications they use outside of the office. Simply put, workers look on gains in productivity as a benefit for their business, not a detriment.

Of course, this user-implementation can have some pretty serious side effects. These Shadow IT applications are almost definitely set up outside the security solutions that protect your network, making them ripe for infiltration by nefarious entities. Any organizational data loss prevention strategy will certainly be breached by the implementation of any foreign application, as it wasn’t a core application identified by your IT administrators. Shadow IT is serious business to your IT support team. Consider that they are the guards attempting to protect the gates of a giant, self sustained castle, only to have the people that work inside the castle order resources from outside the castle walls. Sure, most of the time the Shadow IT applications, and the data created with them, will be fine, but what happens the one time they aren’t?

Suggested Solutions

Keep your company from experiencing the detriments associated with Shadow IT

To keep Shadow IT from putting your organization’s network and data at risk, we suggest that your IT administrator consider these four practices:

  • Consolidate applications when you can - Nearly all businesses need solutions in which to draft documents, inventory equipment, and manage finances. If you can find a solution to handle multiple issues, such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps, it makes your software (and the data it produces) significantly easier to manage.
  • Monitor user activity - By assessing what your employees upload, download, and share, you will be able to ascertain if you have all of your bases covered. You can also begin to enforce policies to block risky app activity by eliminating the “share” or “upload” features within applications, if those functions aren’t core to the success of the application’s organizational use.
  • Research applications - Applications themselves will often tell you what you need to know about where they fit for your business. Your administrators should try to ascertain the possible risks an application could have, and choose whitelisted applications diligently. If there are several applications that fill similar roles, choosing the one that is most reliable can actually save your organization time and money.
  • Educate your users - Your organization will definitely want to have an understanding of every possible task you will ask of your employees. That way you can find and integrate solutions that make sense for both users and the network. Then educate your staff about Shadow IT and their responsibility to clear any outside applications with their IT administrator. Tell them about the risks of using software that is outside of the management capabilities of the organization and the risks associated with deploying client information.

With all the known threats out there, understanding which software works best, but also mitigates the most risk is becoming essential for the modern business. If you are concerned that your staff is running amok with outside software, the professional IT technicians at PC Technologies can help. Call us at 360-491-2227 to set up your comprehensive IT consultation, today.




Who Are We?

It's Nice To Know Who You're Working With, We Get That

PC Technologies understands that making a decision means putting your trust in us. We encourage you to find out more about our company and read testimonials from our many satisfied customers!

About PC Technologies

We are not your typical business, We are your business partners

We live by the idea that your business needs come first, so much so that our CEO W. Jeff Seeman has written a letter for you to read showing just how dedicated our team is to not only solving problems but your success!

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Our Difference
 
It's a Secret

Shhh, don't tell anyone we told you!

WARNING: We are about to let you in on a secret about how most computer companies really make their money! We will cover the three main types of IT companies and what you can expect out of them.

Discover What It Is!
 

Refer A Friend To PC Technologies!

Do you know someone who you think my benefit from our services? Let us know and we will get in touch with them!

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Refer a Friend
 

What Our Clients Say

  • I highly recommend PC Technologies for any of your IT and/or computer needs
    Practice Manager at Robert GR Lang, MD Inc

    Jeff has provided computer components and IT services to our medical practice since 2007. He has seen us through a system conversion, office move, and EMR implementation, providing the peripherals and support needed to make a smooth transition each time. He and his staff are prompt, professional, and price conscious. I highly recommend PC Technologies for any of your IT and/or computer needs

  • Gets it fixed fast
    CPA

    Jeff and his staff installed a major computer upgrade for my office. There was no down time for my staff, the system works great and whenever there's glitch, Jeff, or one of his staff, gets it fixed fast.

  • No more having to take the computer into the store
    Director at Washington Gemological Laboratory

    I have relied on Jeff and his crew for not only minor 'bugs' that occur but also for swapping out the entire data from an older laptop into the one I currently use. They have always been able to do the job and quickly. Most of the time they are able to resolve the issue over the phone, while controlling my computer from their office. Love it!! Makes my life so much easier. No more having to take the computer into the store.

  • Jeff is the IT consultant for our company.
    Citizen Action Network at Freedom Foundation

    He goes the extra mile to ensure that all of our computer infrastructure is running smoothly. When we do encounter problems Jeff is quick to respond. He has become integral to our team--so much so, we should call him a staff member rather than a consultant.

  • PC Tech is a great place to get all of your IT needs.
    Branch Manager / Loan Officer at Weststar Pacific Mortgage

    Jeff is always available and works with you on the best possible solutions to ones needs. I would recommend PC Tech to anyone that is running a business and does not want to deal with IT.

  • Jeff is able to bridge the gap between IT professional and customer relationships very well.
    Board Member at Seattle Search Network

    I've recommended him to clients that are in need of IT services many times. Jeff is highly skilled in IT and understands the changing trends and its impact to the small business owner. I'd highly recommend Jeff to others seeking for an IT professional.

Latest Blogs

How the Right Technology Can Help SMBs Reopen Safely

The COVID-19 Situation

Assorted state regulations have imposed lockdowns across the country that have caused various issues for businesses. As you would imagine, many of them are not good, and when compared to a few recent trends, they only seem worse. For instance, in the first quarter of this year, the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Confidence Index demonstrated a generally positive outlook, and mere weeks later, it plunged from 64 to 48. The National Small Business Association saw similar drops in confidence, witnessing a benchmark far below the levels seen during the Great Recession.

With 2019 serving as a great year for many, businesses have truly been thrown for a loop across the board. 72 percent of business owners are predicting that COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the way their businesses will operate in the future, and many businesses simply won’t be able to outlast the pandemic. Adding to these concerns, many businesses fear that the uncertainty and inherent issues with restarting operations on a regional basis could create issues pertaining to competition and other crucial market factors—in addition to the potential health risks associated with reopening too soon.

The hard truth of the matter is this: moving forward, businesses will need to redefine the status quo to survive (especially as the tide of the pandemic ebbs and surges). With the future still uncertain regarding how COVID-19 will play out moving forward, businesses need to adapt and move forward to any extent possible.

What Businesses Will Need to Do

There are a lot of factors that organizations of all kinds will need to consider as more people return to (some approximation of) business as usual.

Communication

People all over the world are really concerned about their job security, in addition to all the other concerns that COVID-19 has brought up. Maintaining an open stream of communication with your employees in addition to what your operations require will prove to be crucial. Face-to-face contact is also likely to be seen as a largely unnecessary risk, so other forms of communication are more likely to take over for some time. This all means that your business will need the tools to make this possible.

Workplace Safety

While we have already touched upon the concerns that your employees may have working face-to-face, many businesses will likely re-examine their approach entirely. Using more of their digital tools and the improved opportunities that they offer will only make it safer for your employees to do their jobs effectively. If these tools don’t fit your business’ operations, other means can work great for you—such as staggering your employees’ shifts to ensure social distancing.

Look to the Future

Of course, with the future so uncertain right now, you need to prepare as best you can for any eventuality. The technology that is available today enables your employees to work remotely while still collaborating with their fellow team members. Ensuring that you have the capability to scale to meet your needs by using the cloud will be more than helpful, it will be crucial.

Businesses have always needed to shift and adjust to meet the changing times—the current situation we are all facing is just another example of that, dialed up to eleven. Technology has always been developed to address these complications.

PC Technologies can help you to do so with the key IT solutions and services to support your operations. For assistance, give us a call at 360-491-2227.

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Tip of the Week: How to Effectively Task Out Responsibilities

Creating the Ideal Task

Many productivity gurus (and assorted other authorities on the subject) have lent their expertise and created a rubric to help do just this:

Step + Detail + Deadline + Context = Task

This rubric Is particularly useful for creating single tasks, as well as individual steps in a larger process. Let’s go into these four components piece-by-piece.

Step

With each task, there is going to be some inherent action necessary, so you need to address what that action needs to be. Does someone need to research something, write something, or simply check into something? Tell them what needs to be done for their goal to be accomplished.

Detail

You also need to provide additional information concerning each task for context and clarity. This would include things like:

  • The person or department who is responsible for completing this task
  • The purpose of the task that they should strive to accomplish
  • Why this task is important to the overall goal
  • Where any resources can be found to assist with the task and general guidance to help complete it

Deadline

Once you’ve outlined what the task is, you need to identify when the task should be completed by. This helps ensure that projects are completed in a timely fashion, with certain milestones achieved within a certain timeframe.

Context

Finally, you need to include other pertinent details about a task, including how much time may be spent on it, which project it is for, and what priority level it should have. This gives the person responsible for the task more information as they organize their schedule.

Let’s assume that you want to throw a surprise pizza party for your team, and so you wanted to give one trusted employee (we’ll assume he’s named Bob) the responsibility of ensuring the food was ordered ahead of time. The task you assign to Bob might look like this:

“Order Food for Staff Surprise Party on Friday

Assigned to BOB – Priority 3
*If unable to complete, please inform HR*

Wednesday:

  • 3:15 – Get credit card from HR and call Pizzeria Porfirio. Place order for three large pizzas with peppers and onion and 75 of their house special chicken wings to be delivered Friday at 4:45.

Friday:

  • 1:00 – Call Pizzeria Porfirio to confirm delivery”

That’s all there is to tasking out a process for your team to follow. There are also software solutions available to make this even easier for you and your team, so long as you keep these practices in mind and completely task out the things you assign to others. The clearer the process is, the more likely it is to be successful.

For more handy tips to boost your business’ productivity, make sure you subscribe to our blog!

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Cybersecurity Takes Effort at 3 Levels

Protecting Home Base

Physical security is one of those elements of business that you either love or hate. The people who love it tend to be deliberate, patient people. The people who don’t tend to want access right now and without hindrances. First, it is a balancing act. Secondly, it’s ants vs. elephants. You need to protect your investments, your staff, your data, and your physical technology. 

There are all types of things that you can do to increase your level of physical security. 

  • Get an access control system - This option is probably the most prudent physical security investment you can make. There are all types of solutions: key fob, ID card, smartphone, even biometric. The idea is simply to get a read on when people come and go, what they need access to, and to protect company assets with the use of technology.
  • Get some security swag - When people feel like they’re being watched they don’t tend to be as foolish as when they know they aren’t. Getting some digital security cameras can provide you with eyes (and ears) all over your business, and they serve as a pretty good deterrent, too.
  • Security! - If you don’t mind spending some money, one of the very best ways to promote security at your place of business is to, in fact, hire some. Albeit, expensive, if you have personnel on duty, not many physical security problems will come your business’ way.

Protecting your place of business is extremely important and, on some level, has to be a priority. Problems of physical security don’t just extend to peddlers and madmen; they can more often result in more subdued problems such as cybercrime. To that end...

The Battle Against Cybercrime

Cybersecurity can be a problem from inside your office, but more often it comes from outside your network, even if (as we’ll talk about later) it’s often triggered by someone on your side. In order to sufficiently protect your Internet-facing systems, you’ll need a plan that includes the following routine actions:

  • Software patching - In order to keep the software your business relies on from being a direct avenue to your data, you will need to ensure that each piece of software is routinely patched and updated regularly. 
  • Spam blocking - Your organization gets literally hundreds or thousands of messages per day coming in from senders you didn’t request anything from. In order to separate the legitimate mail from all the other rubbish, you will need to have a spam blocker in place.
  • Firewalls - You will want to make sure that firewalls are set up on all applicable spots on your network. A well-updated enterprise firewall will catch most malicious software that is thrown at it. 
  • Multi-Factor Authentication - Where you can, you should be using two-factor authentication. It may take a few moments longer to get into your account (more if you left your smartphone in the car), but it will be worth it when you don’t see a data breach. 
  • Use of security tools for work outside of the office - Today’s business is a remote business. Making your team utilize secure connections--whether it be through a password-protected remote access software or with the use of a virtual private network--is a great strategy to keep business data safe. Mobile management is also extremely important as many people are now working on their mobile devices. 
  • Get tested - Once you think you’ve created the comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, get it tested. You need to be sure that it is effective at stopping today’s most powerful threats. Call PC Technologies today and our team can help you set up a test of your organization’s cybersecurity.

Now that you have all the tools in place, you have everything updated and you have eyes (actual or virtual) on your access points, you then come to the most difficult part of creating a three-level security plan that will protect your business’ digital and physical assets: training the assets themselves. 

Keep Beating the Dead Horse

It’s true that you need to have a plan to train your employees on solid security practices. The problem becomes when you have taken all the steps that you were supposed to, invested heavily in the training and testing of each employee only to have someone make a mistake and cause major problems for your organization. 

Most of the threats your business faces come into your network from cybercriminals and scammers of all types through your communications platforms. Each day, literally billions of phishing emails are sent, and you can only imagine how many scam calls someone may get per year. The point is that these problems are coming at your business from all directions and it would be a shame if someone on your team was the reason that your business is dealing with a major data leak or other digital disaster. So, if you aren’t actively training your staff about phishing and other cyberthreats, you have to start today. Some points of emphasis include:

  • Password Hygiene
  • Data Security Practices
  • Secure Processes
  • Access Control Standards
  • Social Media Use
  • Conformity to Policies

Don’t let your business get hacked. The IT security experts at PC Technologies can help implement the cybersecurity policy (and the tools) needed to ward off cyberattacks and keep your business’ data secure. Call us today at 360-491-2227.

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Know someone who would benefit from PC Technologies? Let us know!

Latest Blog Entry

Many small businesses in the United States—most, actually—are in a catch-22 of sorts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While reopening too soon could contribute to a resurgence in infection rates, there is also a very real risk associated with reopening too late. To help avoid e...

Latest News

PC Technologies launches new website!

PC Technologies is proud to announce the launch of our new website at www.pctechnologies.net. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our services for prospective clients.

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