SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.


There are two known options to dealing with malware and viruses; to clean or wipe and restore. It must be acknowledged that the main difference between the two has to do with convenience. Many argue that wipe and restore is the most effective way of virus alertdealing with viruses and malware, but to clean is equally effective and comes with certain advantages. For Small and Medium-Size Businesses (SMB) or Managed Service Providers (MSP) who are into the business of troubleshooting computers for a fee, it is very important to weigh the convenience each of the two methods bring to you and your clients.

There are some factors to consider when deciding on which method to use; time, cost, loss of irrecoverable data, etc, while ensuring that the primary objective of cleaning the computer or device of all malware and/or viruses is kept intact. Make sure that the client is satisfied with your work; you do not delete important files and folders that a malware has hijacked. You also want to ensure that there is a significant improvement in the performance of the computer; applications open faster, there are no popups or unauthorized applications running in the background and consuming vital memory space.

From the perspective of most clients, “wipe and restore” is how a lazy MSP gets the job done. The “I could have done that myself” feedback should not be unexpected. Wipe and restore, even when requested by a client, backed by a signed agreement, should be used when absolutely nothing can be done to recover files and applications. Truth be told, the client could have called his or her nephew in high school, or even the neighbor’s kid to do “wipe and restore” instead of hiring your services. It is clearly a bad idea to wipe; recovery files don’t receive updates, drivers which have been installed to work with peripherals will have to be reinstalled … too many inconveniences if we are to be fair.

  • To thoroughly clean is to first disconnect the computer from the internet and boot into safe-mood. This is a preventive measure to ensure that the malware does not spread or steal and transfer personal data via the internet.
  • Run a Disk Cleanup to clear all temporary files. Aside creating useful space for the client, this will also get rid of some malware and improve the performance of the computer.
  • Install a good malware software and run an on-demand scan to clean the computer. If client already had one installed, it obviously must be uninstalled since it failed to prevent the malware from spreading.
  • The next step is to reconnect to the internet and have Malwarebytes installed. After installation and checking for updates, disconnect the internet again and run the program. If you do not want to risk an infection, download it on a clean computer and use a USB drive to install on the infected one. This will remove all threats not detected by the earlier scan. It is not recommended as a first option because some malwares are designed to prevent its installation even in safe mode.

There are some damages you would not be able to repair or restore, but the client will be far more satisfied to have almost everything running normal than to start Windows from scratch.

Continue reading

Android vs iOS

If you are in the market to buy a new phone, then you might be having a hard time deciding on Android or iOS. 
If you used only one platform in the whole experience of your smart phone life andiOS vs Android never got the chance to use the other, then it’s obvious that you don’t know much about the other.
Don’t worry we have spent great time with both and will show the key differences and similarities between iOS and Android to help you choose the best.  
Apple or iOS are one the most expensive smart phones on the market, costing about $600 including the two-year contract. Whereas. Android comes in variety of handsets with high as well as low prices depending upon the functions and features of the smart phone. So, on the basis of affordability, nothing competes with Android.
Traditionally, developers tend to appear new apps on more remunerative platforms. So, there is a proclivity of new apps to appear first on iOS than Android. However, when it comes to the comparison of total number of apps on average in both, then it is nearly the same.
Battery Life and Management:
It has been seen that most of the iOS smart phones have a smaller battery then most of the Androids. However, you can customize that somehow by using the battery saver feature, which is present in both.
On the basis of customizability, Android wins here. It is because, you can customize your Android in different ways like installing launchers, set up own lock screen and shortcuts etc. While in iOS, these things are not available to be customize by the consumer.
iOS has more prolonged and vast security than Androids. So, iOS wins the battle here for those people who want more privacy and security.
Android phones tend to low quality cameras based on mega pixels. While iOS or Apple phones gains the maximum attention for the high-quality camera with 12 mega pixels. 
Continue reading


Ransom + ware = Ransomware (for newbies to the term) is a malicious software which hijacks your computer until a ransom has been paid. A ransomware attack typically denies access to one’s own computer. The mild ones will target useful files and certain applications. Most ransomware attacks are known to demand ransom in the form of cash, but Microsoft reports that there are known cases where attackers request victims to complete surveys to regain We have your dataaccess … bizarre, but nothing will be more irksome than doing everything a cybercriminal requested and still not gaining access to your computer; a phenomenon which should not be unexpected.

This malicious software, commonly used by cyberattackers, has gained momentum over the past year. As elaborated earlier, they are traditionally built to hold operating systems, files and applications hostage, but the cyberspace watchdogs are reporting on their threatening evolution; they are now designed to (in addition to blocking access to one’s computer) steal personal and financial data from victims. Studies on cybersecurity suggest that cybercriminals building ransomware are adding more atrocious features to it. Malwarebytes State of Malware Report 2017 also reveals the possibility of ransomware making modifications to a computer’s Master Boot Record (the part of a computer’s system which manages booting into the operating system).

As cybercriminals are enhancing their malwares, security agencies are also working their fingers to the bone. Europol (European Police Agency), Intel and Kaspersky have already teamed-up to crack down on ransomware. They unveiled an online platform, called No More Ransom, to create awareness and help victims to regain access to their computers, programs and files without paying any ransom. Last year, the master decryption key of TeslaCrypt (a notorious ransomware) was released, rendering it completely useless. But the fact remains that as at November 2016, ransomware accounted for two thirds of all malicious attacks and that can only get worse, looking at how the malware has advanced from 2014 to 2016 (a Kaspersky report showed that ransomware attacks increased from 131,111 to 718,536 within that period). Lucky, referred to as the successor to TeslaCrypt, is continually evolving and menacing.

The United States suffered the most ransomware attacks in 2016 worldwide. To stay protected, back up files and apps regularly, if possible in the cloud as well and update software regularly. It must be acknowledged that very little attention is being paid to antivirus software; a good one represents the first prevention barrier to cyberattacks.

Continue reading

Pa55word: Most Americans fail cyber security best practices, even after being hacked, Pew study finds

by Jillian Stampher on January 26, 2017 at 8:41 am

PI 16.11.09 cybersecurity Featured 630x315

(jmiks/ via Pew Research Center)

Even after being hacked, most Americans fail to properly protect their personal information online, finds a Pew Research Center study published Thursday.

Pew surveyed more than 1,000 American adults last year to determine their perception of cyber security and what measures they take to keep their online information safe. According to the study, most are failing to use best cyber security practices in their personal lives.

PI 01.26.cyber 00 01

(Pew Research Center Graph)

Though 64 percent of the people surveyed had been victim to a cyber attack, just 12 percent have ever used software to manage their passwords. Most (84 percent) still rely on memorizing passwords or writing them down as the main way of keeping their information safe. Pew also found that 41 percent of people have shared their password to at least one online account with another person.

Read More

Continue reading

5 Reasons Employees Quit-Even When They Like Their Job

According to recent evaluation by Department of labor, the average tenure of a U.S. employee is less than two years – a short 18 months!  There are numerous reasons why individuals change jobs. Nowadays, it is rare for someone to get a job and stay with it for the rest of their life. There are many other i quitopen doors and our lives are filled with flexibility and diversity. However, there are many people who leave their jobs to seek an ideal environment — and it isn’t just about the money or the location.

But as for the business holder, losing a great employee is a terrible thing. Finding, onboarding, and training a replacement costs both time and money. Not to mention you don’t know how a new employee will work out. There's the hardship on the rest of your staff until the position can be filled.

So, why did you lose your great employees?

Here are the five top reasons that makes an employee to quit.

Nothing blazes great employees out quite like overworking them. Employesr, and clients expect more work out of these that work hard, which makes them feel as if they are being punished for good performance.
If you want to increase the work of your talented employees, you should increase their status as well. Promotions, title-changes, and raises are all acceptable ways to increase workload.

No career progression
Humans can no longer just do the same thing for the rest of their lives. They want to learn more and progress in their careers. Staff expect to be educated and trained so they can build their experience and skill. If a job provides no opportunity for career progression, chances are workers will leave and seek an ideal environment with better opportunities elsewhere.

People want to be recognized and applauded for a job well done. Recognizing employees, in business, is not simply a nice thing to do but it is an effective way to show your appreciation for their successes and efforts while also strengthening those behaviors and actions that make a difference in your organization.  Lack of appreciation drives people to leave and find another job.

Excessive hierarchy
Every workplace needs an initiative structure, but an inflexible organization makes your employees unhappy. If your best performers know they're expected to deliver without contributing their ideas, don’t feel empowered to help make decisions, are always deferring to others on the premise of their title rather than their expertise, they don't have much to be glad about.
Most of the people who leave their job do so because of the boss, not the organization or work. Ask yourself what you may be doing to keep your best employees.  

Lack of recognition
Even the most selfless people want to be rewarded and appreciated for a work done well. It is the nature of human beings. When you don’t reward or appreciate your good  employees, you're not only failing to motivate them but also missing out on the most effective way to reinforce great performance. Even if you don't have the budget for bonuses or raises, you can provide them recognition by a money-free way-- although, a word of appreciation is free. If people are not noticed, they won’t care.

Hire and Promote the Wrong People
Hard working and good employees want to work with smart professionals. When managers don’t hire good people, it’s a annoying thing for those stuck working alongside them. And if you promote the wrong people, the condition becomes much worse. When you strive to give your best effort only to get a promotion or just an appreciation that’s given to someone who glad-handed their way to the top, it’s a big offense. It makes the good people leave you.

Continue reading