Editor’s note: October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month here in the U.S. so we’re catching up with Thomas Mitchell, a Managed Service Provider who deploys OpenDNS Enterprise on nearly all the networks he manages, for a few tips on improving Web security and avoiding costly IT disasters.
OpenDNS: You work as an OpenDNS ambassador of sorts, recommending and installing it for your customers. Why did you choose OpenDNS over competitors?
TM: I discovered OpenDNS because I was looking for a way to keep my family safe online. After further exploring OpenDNS business solutions, I realized it was ideal for many of my clients. Appliance-based systems are costly to set up and maintain. We had experimented with proxy-based web filtering, but that brought other issues. And the last thing we wanted to do was roll out software to end user devices because we’re now seeing a myriad of smart phones and tablets in addition to desktops and laptops. OpenDNS was quick to set up, easy to maintain and a single dashboard allows us to look after all our clients from the same place. It really was a simple decision and one we would make again.
OpenDNS: You must inherit disasters of all sorts. What’s the ugliest thing you’ve seen?
TM: We recently took on a new client and all the users on their network were complaining of performance problems and other random issues. The network had over 200 viruses and a ton of malware. This was mostly because there wasn’t a comprehensive preventative security strategy in place. As expected, when we put proper precautions in place, including OpenDNS, there was an immediate improvement.
OpenDNS: What’s the best tip you can offer to computer and Internet users for avoiding costly IT repairs?
TM: Security. If you make sure your machine is patched with the latest updates for your software and a current anti-virus installed, and add OpenDNS to the mix, you’ll find most problems are prevented in the first place. Beyond that, I’d advise not to install applications or free software that you don’t need.
OpenDNS: What about a tip for small businesses who can’t afford an in-house IT person?
TM: Find a local IT support company that offers proactive, unlimited support. This way you get the benefit of having a whole team of specialists to look after your IT. Just make sure the service is unlimited. That way your IT support team is motivated to prevent issues rather than wait and charge by the hour for fixing the inevitable.
OpenDNS: What’s one thing people should do before picking up the phone to call their IT guy when they think there’s an issue?
TM: Turn it off and on again. It probably seems too simple to work, but you’d be amazed the amount of people who call us with problems that a simple reboot would fix. Going beyond that, a search in Google often finds a solution in no time at all. Just remember to be specific in your search, type in the exact error you are seeing. The odds are someone will have seen it, and fixed it before.
Thomas Mitchell runs TechSolvers, an IT and Managed Services support consultancy in the UK. Want to answer five questions for OpenDNS like Thomas? Email your OpenDNS success story to Success@OpenDNS.com.
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