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Meet Chris Kays, IT Services Expert

F1 Computing Solutions

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Chris Kays founded F1 Computing Solutions, LLC, in July 2005. Having spent many years in the IT field and knowing just how difficult and frustrating it could be to find support in a timely manner, Chris decided his IT company would focus on high-quality, timely customer service.   

Chris was honorably discharged as a disabled veteran after four years of service in the United States Air Force. Following that service, Chris became a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service in Springfield. After 15 years working his way up through the ranks into management while simultaneously putting himself through college at MSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in business, Chris decided to start F1 Computing Solutions. During Chris’s time at the Postal Service, he frequently put his computer and programming skills to use. He even cut the manager’s workload in half with a program he created; a program that was then implemented at post offices nationwide. 

Are consumers responsible for their own tech security?

Unfortunately, yes you are! It's easy to get caught up in the flash of futuristic tech rolled out every year. But that flash can mean security is put on the back burner. Some tech companies spend the money that should have been earmarked for security on marketing.  

So don’t get caught up in all the flash. Make sure you worry about the security and ask questions. There have been many, many security issues with consumer products, such as security cameras and baby monitors and until there is some type of oversight and regulation put in place that tech companies must adhere to, there always will be. 

Managed service companies like F1 Computing Solutions are readily available to protect your business from cyber harm but finding that for your home is next to impossible. Always buy your tech from a reputable company and don’t buy the newest or flashiest thing out there as it probably hasn’t been tested much in the real world. 

Short answer, just be very hesitant about buying the newest thing in tech. Something that may seem to make your life easier may indeed make it miserable.

Chris is immensely proud of his many accomplishments throughout his life. He is and always will be a proud American and is even more proud to be from Springfield, Missouri. Chris is honored to be able to continue with a thriving business supported by the very community to which he has always belonged.

How can your business avoid costly downtime due to IT failure?

Hiring a managed services technology company for all your company's technology needs can virtually eliminate any downtime that could occur due to technology failure. A managed services IT company will monitor your systems 24/7, and seek out issues, often implementing a solution without you ever knowing there was a problem. Your IT managed  services provider can also provide a disaster recovery backup system, which protects your data and systems in the event of a disaster.

What should I know when choosing an IT firm?

The number one thing to do is to ask for referrals from someone you trust. Ask other business owners or other members of a networking group you belong to. 

So, what does a good IT firm do? In a nutshell, they make sure that your data is secured, backed up, and accessible, and that your software is updated. They’ll also be on top of all your employees’ devices, whether mobile or at home, to ensure they’re updated and secure. They’ll offer service contracts to support any remaining hardware left in your office like printers.

Today’s IT firms provide a critical service. Most of them now are partnered with the big tech hosting platforms provided by Microsoft, Google and Amazon.

Even after you’ve received a good referral there are still questions you need to look at. I have compiled my top 10 questions that I would expect to be asked by a potential client:

1.    How long have you been in business?

2.    What is included/not included in your support contract?

3.    How is support provided and what are your response times?

4.    Who are your staff and what is their experience?

5.    What’s the monthly fee?

6.    How accessible and available are you when I have a problem?

7.    Where is my data stored and how often is it backed up?

8.    How are you protecting my data?

9.    Does your backup include true disaster recovery?

10. How are you protecting my network from viruses?


Why are my internet speeds so slow?

There are a few things possibly affecting your speeds, but using a Wi-Fi connection is the most likely cause of tested speeds that are lower than the speeds your internet provider runs to the home. 

Wi-Fi will almost always be slower than a cabled connection. Moving away from your router can further hinder your speeds. If there are walls or other obstructins between your router and the device you're using, this could cause your internet speed to fall. 

In other instances, your internet speed can fluctuate depending on peak usage hours. Possibly worst of all, if your internet provider enforces data caps or throttles connections to help maintain overall network performance, you'll experience noticeable hits to your internet speed. 

Keep this in mind when running a speed test and take measures to mitigate potential speed disruptions. Moving closer to the router, for example, can help get more accurate results, but for the best result, try testing over a cabled connection if possible. Also, consider running a few speed tests throughout the day for an idea of how your speeds fluctuate at different times. In our opinion the best and simplest speed test site is This speed test site is owned by Netflix so it’s going to be reliable.


What’s one of the biggest changes businesses are going to experience when it comes to security in technology?

We all know that passwords aren’t the most secure thing in the world and that’s where biometrics come in. Soon you will access devices only using a fingerprint, an eye scan or facial recognition. Even with multi-factor authentication, there are lots of ways to get around a system’s security. Which is why biometrics are the future. Soon you will access devices only using a fingerprint, an eye scan or facial recognition. You’re already seeing this option in use on your smartphone, at airport security and even in some supermarkets. 

More is on the way, and it’s going to start being the preferred method of security, which is why, according to industry reports, the global biometric technology market—valued at $34.27 billion in 2022—is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 20.4% from 2023 to 2030.

And it’s not just for device security. Companies, including health care, are already using palm scans to allow consumers to pay for products and confirm their identity. Offices around the world are using biometrics to allow security clearances in their physical workspaces. So say goodbye to that password, and get ready to be scanned because it’s going to be the norm pretty soon.


Special warning for owners of some Samsung, Vivo and Pixel phones!

Google is warning these owners that a series of exploits enable bad actors to compromise devices simply by knowing phone numbers -- and the device owners wouldn't notice a thing.

Owners of affected devices should install upcoming security updates as soon as possible, though it's up to the phone makers to decide when a software patch will come out for each device. In the meantime, Google says device owners can avoid being targeted by these exploits by turning off Wi-Fi calling and Voice-over-LTE, or VoLTE, in their device settings. 

And as always, regardless of what device you are using ALWAYS be very diligent when using any public Wi-Fi!


What are the top ways to secure your company’s data?

Here are six things we highly recommend:

1. Buy security software.There are plenty of good choices out there like Avast, MalwareBytes, and Bitdefender (which is what we use). But make sure this software is installed on all devices used by your employees, even their home devices. Better yet, hire an outside information technology firm to monitor and ensure the applications are updated.

2. Set up online backup.Make sure your databases – cloud or otherwise – are backed up multiple times per day. Use cloud services like Barracuda, Carboniteor IDrive. This way, if you are attacked, you have the option to wipe everything clean and restore from your last good backup.

3. Get training.We need to be able to better identify phishing emails and other threats. The only way to do this is through regular training. Hire an IT firm to do this for your employees or consider using training software like KnowBe4, Infosec IQ and Proofpoint.

4. Revisit passwords.Require your employees to use password management software like Passportal, Keeper, LastPass or Dashlaneand to create long, complicated passwords. Most importantly, make sure there’s multifactor authentication to access anything on your network. That way, your employees will have to use a combination of passwords and random codes generated by text messages. The best way to accomplish this is to talk to your IT firm or company hosting your data.

5. Update everyone’s operating systems.This could be the most important item on the list. Why? Because Microsoft, Apple and Google – the top three makers of operating systems – frequently issue updates to their systems that include the most recent security protections. Unfortunately, people sometimes ignore these updates because they’re annoying. But don’t let this happen. Updates need to be required, and again, you may need the services of an IT firm to make sure this is being done.

6. Get cyber liability insurance.The sad fact is that none of the above actions is foolproof, and cybercriminals are always going to be one step ahead. So, when all else fails, having protection for the liabilities – and potential business interruptions – caused by theft or fraud is your best bet.


Should my business accept bitcoin?

The short answer is no. Obviously there can always be a reason you should, but most small businesses should not and here’s why:

1.  Even though it has been out there for a while, it is still very new when it comes to currency. Most people still don’t even understand what it is or even more importantly, how it works. It may be great for some tech, gaming or dark web companies, but when you run a small business, you want to be careful not to be on the bleeding edge of anything. Let others—particularly big companies—take the risks. Once a concept, a model or a trend is validated and proven effective, then it’s OK for you to jump in. Maybe you’ll lose out on some big dollars by not being first in, but that’s OK. 
Bitcoin is not your business. Your business is your business. Let others monkey around with this new technology, and good for those few who strike it rich.

2.  Despite all the publicity, Bitcoin is really not being used much by anyone. If you Google the companies that accept the digital currency as payment, the list is very short. Yes, there are some very risky investment funds that are making money there but that’s it.
 Obviously, if the day comes where 5%, 10%, or 20% of your customers are demanding to make payments in Bitcoin, then it will be time for you to respond. But, for now, it’s just too small a marketplace.

3.  The fact is that the Bitcoin market is not that large and many of the major “miners” of the currency are consolidated in several mining pools based in China. There’s too much risk of market manipulation. There’s not enough buy-in from the major market makers around the world. As a result, the currency has fluctuated wildly.

     You’re not a treasury manager. You’re not some type of foreign currency exchange guru. You’re running a small business. When someone buys something from you for $10 today, that $10 should still be worth $10 a week from now. There’s no guarantee of that when you’re dealing in the Bitcoin world.


Why should a business switch to VoIP phone service?

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) can save a business up to 30% off current landline phone service through one of the major carriers and also provides a multitude of included services and add-on options. VoIP service is always up to date and the only cost to the business is the monthly service fee. Most IT managed service providers offer VoIP services at discounted rates if you sign on with them for the rest of your IT services.


Why should you hire a professional company to manage your business' technology?

Are you prepared to recover your computer systems and important company and customer  Information following a disaster, data breach or other severe incident? If not, having a  managed IT services arrangement ensures a rigorous plan for data backup, archiving, and  protection- as well as enhanced security measures-to keep your business up and running  even if there's been a natural disaster or catastrophic human error.


What is the best protection from ransomware?

The only guaranteed protection against ransomware is a dependable disaster recovery backup that is in the cloud. With the right backup, ransomware cannot transfer itself to the backed-up files. Even if the infected files are backed up any files backed up prior to that won't be infected and can be restored. The right IT managed services provider can make sure you are ransomware free and protected for the future.


EV (electric vehicle) is here, but is the technology to support it ready?

A lot of this answer depends on where you live. If you are planning long trip with your new EV here are a few things to know and hopefully will help take the EV PTSD out of your trip. If your EV offers a very robust technology infotainment system you are already one step ahead of the game. If not, you might look into an app to help with your trip. One of the recommended apps is A Better Route Planner (ABRP). This app will do everything that the high end EV’s system can do to help plan out your trip. It works along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. After navigation you need to plan on payment. The US EV infrastructure is split between several major players: ChargePoint, Electrify America and EVgo are the biggest kids on the playground. Some chargers are able to accept card payments at the point of sale, but it's easier to plan ahead. If you know what chargers you will encounter ahead of time (it's smart to plan backup chargers in the off chance your intended ones aren't functional) you can download their respective apps, register for free accounts and input payment methods ahead of time. Electrify America and ChargePoint can utilize Apple Wallet. Some automakers (including Mercedes) also incorporate payment into the vehicle itself, so all you have to do is plug and charge. Hope this is helpful to all of you cutting edge EV owners!


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