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There are a lot of computer shops out there that you can call up to fix an issue or install a piece of equipment. They might be able to get you out of crisis mode, but they aren’t looking at the full picture.
At SemTech IT Solutions, we understand business. We consult. We provide solutions to solve everyday challenges. We just happen to fix computers as well.
We believe (and have proven) that if you proactively manage technology, run maintenance religiously, and monitor a business network, everyday issues and downtime will be greatly reduced.
This is what makes us different than your typical tech support company. Sure, we can fix computer issues when you have them, but our specialty is preventing them in the first place.
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SemTech IT Solutions 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!
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We live by the idea that your business needs come first, so much so that our CEO Brian Willcox has written a letter for you to read showing just how dedicated our team is to not only solving problems but your success!
Doing business with SemTech IT Solutions has been a pleasure. Brian Willcox and team are a great bunch to work with! They really know their stuff when it comes to eliminating annoying computer issues and making technology actually WORK for businesses.
Defining Crimes As we mentioned, while credit card theft and identity theft are related to one another, they aren’t terms that should be used interchangeably. Rather, credit card theft is just one of many kinds of identity theft. Think of it this way: cars, trucks, and SUVs are all types of motor vehicle. In this example, credit card theft is the car, while identity theft is represented by all varieties of motor vehicle--including trucks and SUVs.
Summed up, credit card theft is what happens when someone is able to access your account and make purchases without your permission. While this isn’t the only form of identity theft, it is certainly a prevalent one. A 2015 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a section of the U.S. Department of Justice, states that 8.6 million Americans of age 16 or older were victimized in 2014 alone, out of a total of 17.6 million affected by identity theft.
Identity theft is a blanket term for criminal activity that falls into one of three categories:
Fraud or misuse of an existing account -- This kind of identity theft is the most common, with 16.4 million of 2014’s 17.6 million victims being targeted by this variety of identity theft. When a thief obtains access to an account of yours--through a credit card, for example--and uses it to their own ends, or passes bad checks through it, it falls under this category.
Fraud or misuse of a new account -- If a criminal obtains your personal information and uses it to open an account in your name, you are made a victim of this kind of identity theft. This kind of identity theft can range from relatively small, like opening a line of credit or a checking account, to large, like applying for a fraudulent mortgage on a house. This was reported about 1.1 million times in 2014.
Fraud or misuse of personal information -- All other uses of stolen personal information or data fall under this category, which held 713,000 of 2014’s reported cases. In this form of identity theft, someone improperly uses your information for their benefit. This may be to find employment, rent property, see a doctor or even to lie to the authorities.
Protecting Yourself (and Your Clients and Employees) from Identity Theft Of course, you’ve probably already considered how much personal or otherwise sensitive data you have stored on your business network. There’s your business’ financial data, with employee information if they are paid through direct deposit bundled in there. Additionally, if any of your clients have financial data on file, that certainly counts as well. This also includes any non-financial records your business may keep on your clients.
In short, you have plenty of data that needs to be protected, including credit card and other personally identifiable information. SemTech IT Solutions can help you keep it safe. Call us at 407-830-1434 for more information.
From the beginning of our democracy, there are a few basic freedoms that all citizens have been given through the First Amendment to our Constitution: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly. Rolling back net neutrality rules would allow your Internet service provider to analyze your web activity and adjust what you are able to access to support their agenda--or more realistically, that of the highest bidder--infringing on those rights in order to make themselves a bigger profit.
We recently discussed this in more depth in a post entitled Net Neutrality: Everything Business Owners Need to Know. Make sure you give it a read for more context into this issue.
How this Affects You Small and medium-size businesses have enough competition to deal with from large corporations as it is. Without these rules, however, ISPs could essentially allow large corporations to pay for prioritization, making their website’s user experience better than yours, encouraging users to go to them instead.
Your competitors could literally pay your service provider to give you an inferior service, slowly sending you out of business.
On a wider scale, the removal of these rules would also allow ISPs to deny access to any website whose agenda wasn’t in line with their own, censor content that they didn’t agree with, or block visitors from accessing a website belonging to a protesting labor union--all of which happened before the net neutrality rules were put in place, and will happen again if they are rolled back.
What You Can Do to Help Regardless of your industry, this will affect you as a small- or medium-sized business owner. The time to act is now. Visit www.battleforthenet.com to contact your representative today and tell them to stop the FCC from doing considerable harm to the free and open Internet. Send an email, call their offices, make sure they know how opposed you--their constituent--are to this transparent attempt by the telecoms to abuse the Internet for profit.
Plain and simple, net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISPs) need to treat all data on the Internet the same. Regardless of how you connect to the internet, your provider isn’t allowed to prioritize certain types of content, websites, or online services for you. This also means they can’t decide to limit or restrict certain types of content.
For example, let’s say your internet provider also has their own on-demand video streaming service. They would much rather you use theirs instead of Hulu or Netflix, so they could put limitations on how much Netflix you could watch (or block it entirely) to try to encourage you to use their service. Since most Americans have very limited options when it comes to choosing an internet service provider, this really leaves us helpless when it comes to what content we can consume.
A lot of people are using similar examples like this to explain net neutrality, but as much as it would be undesirable for your favorite video streaming service to become harder to access, life goes on, right? There is a whole other side to consider...
The Internet Isn’t Just About Consuming Content for Entertainment
This Netflix example is just scratching the surface. The same problem could happen more frequently at smaller scales. It’s not just entertainment and media that could get prioritized, but any and all web content. Social media, search engines, ecommerce and banking, and small businesses who rely on their online presence could eventually see an effect from this.
If your business relies on online traffic to generate leads, abandoning net neutrality means that your internet service provider could make it harder or impossible for some customers to get to your website. Your ISP could prioritize and otherwise interfere with traffic simply because they have partnerships or get paid by businesses who compete with you. This may sound a little extreme, but it has already happened:
Real World Examples of What Net Neutrality Protects Us From
In 2010, DSL provider Windstream Communications admitted to hijacking search queries made using the Google toolbar within Firefox. Users thought they were searching on Google, but instead were delivered results through Windstream’s own search portal.
We’ve also seen cases where service providers were blocking other services on their network to attempt to get users to use their own:
Between 2011 and 2014, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon blocked Google Wallet, a mobile payment system, which competed with Isis, a competing mobile payment system that the three carriers each had a stake in developing.
Over the last decade or so, other cases have come up where ISPs had blocked various VoIP services, including Skype, Google Voice, and Vonage. The most notorious case was in 2012, where AT&T announced that it would disable FaceTime, a video messaging app on iPhones, unless subscribers paid additional fees.
While many of these earlier cases happened before net neutrality rules were officially in place, net neutrality enforces ISPs to keep the Internet open and transparent. The net neutrality rules were a result of these cases.
The Argument Against Net Neutrality
Myth: Net Neutrality Hurts Small Businesses Although the argument for net neutrality is pretty simple--keep the Internet open, the argument against it is a little more complex. FCC chairman Ajit Pai (who formerly worked for Verizon) claims the rules are “heavy handed” and “all about politics.” His argument states that small internet providers were hurt by regulations. Net neutrality does prevent Internet service providers from charging more or less for different tiers of internet, capitalizing on advertising revenue and partnerships by redirecting traffic, and throttling competing services, but it also prevents smaller businesses from being excluded from a fair, open online ecosystem.
Myth: Net Neutrality is the Government Regulating the Internet Another argument against net neutrality is that regulation always gets in the way of progress. However, the net neutrality rules aren’t crafted to regulate the Internet and how consumers use it, instead it regulates how it is delivered and how the businesses that deliver it can manipulate it. Imagine UPS prioritizing your deliveries based on the brands you buy or the stores you buy from. You’ll make decisions on what to buy and where to buy from if you knew you could get it faster. Next, imagine ordering a Samsung phone, but UPS has a partnership with Apple and swaps out your new device with an iPhone before it gets to your house. It sounds silly when put that way, but this is exactly what we’re fighting to prevent.
Myth: Tiered, Lower Cost Internet Will Benefit Low-Income Households One of the strongest arguments against net neutrality is that enabling ISPs to create tiered Internet packages will allow more users to get access to the Internet. This sounds like a very strong point--we want to give poorer families the same opportunities and resources. The idea of an ISP coming out with a cheap, barebones broadband service designed for households who simply can’t afford or struggle to afford current plans tugs at the emotions. However, limiting the open Internet can lead to limitations of the value of the Internet itself. If lower-income households were given access to an Internet without the same perks and resources, they still miss out. These families will inevitably choose Internet packages that limit the experience, and thus limit the amount of opportunity both economically and educationally they could have otherwise. Children growing up with a limited, restricted Internet might not be able to watch tutorials on YouTube, take free online courses for programming, or gain the skills to use the Internet to reach a wider audience through marketing and social media. They won’t even know the opportunities are there because the only Internet they know is the restricted, limited tier.
There are long-term ratifications to this that we simply can’t predict, but it’s clear that there is more to gain from an open Internet.
Abandoning Net Neutrality Stonewalls Content Creators and Small Business
Let’s go back to how abandoning net neutrality affects business owners. In the example above, where Internet Service Providers could start offering a cheaper, limited Internet tier, this potentially limits small business. If a percentage of your audience dials back their Internet tier to a plan that prioritizes the ISP’s partners and agenda, this could make it harder or impossible for those users to find and engage with you. The money that you put into online marketing won’t go as far, or even have an effect on these users. Smaller businesses and content creators might not have the resources to get past all of the barriers when reaching deals with carriers to have a fair shot at getting in front of customers.
As business owners, we already pay for full access to the Internet. We likely pay other companies for services beyond just Internet access - mobile data usage, email hosting, web hosting, online marketing, VoIP, cloud storage, and the list goes on. If telecoms and ISPs prioritize the delivery of the Internet to us and our audience, we all lose.
On December 14th, the FCC will vote to abandon Net Neutrality and Title II rules. Our only hope is if congress puts a stop to it. Many members of congress have come out against the plan to end net neutrality, but many are for ending it. We need to band together and speak out.
The best way to do this is by reaching out directly to members of Congress and telling them about your concerns. By writing and calling those who can save net neutrality, we’ll help them understand that we depend on an open, transparent Internet.
Fortunately, the people behind https://www.battleforthenet.com/ make this easy. You can compose an email to Congress from the homepage, and even dial Congress members to tell them that you are concerned with the impact that killing net neutrality will have on your business.
If we all work together on this, we can help preserve the open Internet. Please, we urge you to take a few minutes out of your day to go to https://www.battleforthenet.com/ and make your voice be heard.
December 14th is the last day that our government representatives can vote whether or not to continue the Internet’s protection under the net neutrality rules established in 2015. Without these rules in place, your data can be analyzed by your Internet service provider, and ...
SemTech IT Solutions is proud to announce the launch of our new website at www.semtechit.com. 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.