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Life on Easy Street
It’s Sunday night and you’re busy working on a proposal that is due first thing tomorrow morning. Once again, your computer is running slow; you keep restarting it and then it just shuts down. You struggle in vain to fix whatever just went wrong. You talk nice to the computer, say a few prayers and press the on button. The computer starts up but your work is lost and there’sno guarantee that it will stay on for any length of time.
Staples, a company that understands small business, feels your pain and wants to help. About a month ago, they reached out to me, as a business owner, to gauge my interest in their new EasyTech Total Support program. After learning about the features of the service, I happily said yes! The thought of having trained and skilled IT people helping me with my company’s computer issues was fantastic.
Last week I made an appointment with a local Staples store in New Jersey to bring my laptop in for a checkup. The results were surprising and alarming. The first step in the process was an intake scan. Staples checks the computer hardware to make sure I’m using the right equipment to meet my needs. The scan will also check for viruses. Even if you are running an antivirus program, it’s possible to have viruses on your computer. The technician working on my computer told me one customer had over 40,000 viruses on his laptop (he didn’t have antivirus software installed on his computer). I thought my computer would be ok since I’m fairly cautious with my laptop. I had 148 viruses!
Most of the viruses on my computer came from something called “redirects.” This occurs when you open an email that you think is from a reputable source (e.g. PayPal or Google). When you click on the link provided, it doesn’t take you the actual site; instead you are sent to a scam web site operated by people who will track your keystrokes looking for passwords, credit card information and/or any other confidential data. My technician reminded me to “Never give passwords, credit card numbers or personal information to web sites, emails or even over the phone when you’re not 100% sure the company or person is trustworthy.” Good advice!
After the intake scan was completed, which took about 30-40 minutes to get rid of the viruses, my technician then loaded software that I was previously unable to install (thanks to the aforementioned intruders which blocked any new installations). We then went over the one-year package I was getting with EasyTech Total Support. For $150/ year, I get:
- Virus removal for one year
- In-store diagnostics on my laptop
- In-store installs
- My choice of Internet security program (I chose Sophos)
- SquareTrade Protection Plan -100% parts and labor with no deductible, 2-day service guarantee and up to $500 in coverage.
I also paid $100 to have the 148 viruses removed so my total cost was $250. To me, it was arguably the best investment I made all year. Knowing that my computer and data are safer and more secure now than they’ve ever been since I started my business, and that I have access to a nationwide team of technicians (I can go into any Staples store in the country if I have a problem with my computer) is a smart business move on my part.
As I continue to use EasyTech Total Support, I will tweet more tidbits of information throughout the summer (@BrianMoran is my Twitter handle) and look for one more blog post on what I’ve learned from using the service. My biggest takeaway from the initial visit—“Take Time to Do Things Right!” Treat your computer like a car. Every three to six months go in for a checkup (diagnostics is part of the EasyTech Total Support package). A Staples technician will run a diagnostics test on your computer for free. I put the quarterly appointments on my calendar before I finished this post. In business, it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t let a $50 problem become a $5,000 nightmare.
Photo Courtesy: iStock/Thinkstock