In the past two weeks, I’ve seen a half-dozen clients and friends get hit with some seriously yucky computer viruses. One virus had infected over 1800 files on a website. Another had infected thousands on a personal computer. Viruses can ride in on emails or be delivered by visiting infected sites on the net.
If you want to prevent or remove a virus, here’s 9 of my favourite tricks and tools to make it just a bit easier. IMHO.
1. Avast Antivirus: Offers a free, powerful home version that you can download. Avast allows you to scan right from the boot which is one of the best ways to get rid of a nasty bug. Unfortunately, the boot scan doesn’t work on 86bit computers, but the rest of the program will work. You can run Avast after you’ve been hit with a virus as well and it often can clean things up. For a real first scan, it’ll take hours, so don’t try to use your computer until it’s done. http://www.avast.com/free-antivirus-download
2. Malwarebytes: This hasn’t let me down yet. And the free version does a great job. This caught the big keylogger virus that infiltrated my entire network and website a couple of years ago. I call that time the dark ages. There’s two options. Buy it for about $25 or download the free version. http://www.malwarebytes.org/
3. FireFox: I rarely use Internet Explorer anymore. Firefox often blocks infected websites with a warning message. On a side note, it’s great for web developers. I only return to IE when I’m using my Sharepoint since IE and Sharepoint get along better with each other. http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/
4. Panda Antivirus: This software was loaded up by one of my computer guys and it did catch some stuff that Avast didn’t. But then Avast caught bugs that Panda didn’t. Panda doesn’t offer a free version. http://www.pandasecurity.com/canada-eng/homeusers/downloads/
5. HostGator: I host various websites on dedicated servers with HostGator and they have by FAR the best tech support. When one of my client sites was infected last week, I fired off an email to tech support, they scanned the site, found a bunch of bugs and redirects, removed them, and all was well. No extra charge. Replies within an hour at the most. I can’t say enough about the tech team there. And then on my end, I was able to follow up with another scanning of email and file directories using my hosting admin area (cPanel)’s pre-loaded virus software. In less than 8 hours, this gigantic site was good to go. http://www.hostgator.com/
You love your tribe, your fans and followers. You’ve worked crazy hard for eons to stand out from the rest and build relationships with clients that go beyond a contract and a cheque. You know their kids names, their favourite sushi restaurant, their life or business goals…
And then a competitor (a real competitor – someone who pitches the exact same niche and product/service line) swoops in and you see a few of your favourites defect or at least embrace the new guy whose sole purpose is to crush their competition – which they’ve identified as you.
How could they?!, you ask yourself. I thought they loved me!, you whine. Even though common sense should prevail (because let’s face it, you’ve been around this particular block a few times), it still feels like you’re in the middle of a hostile takeover.
And immediately you hit the drawing board. You brainstorm. You collaborate. You dust off ideas you never had the time or resources to make happen. You plot what you could do with another 40 hours in each week, what you can afford to invest in, how you can create an even bigger wow factor. You even kick yourself (hard) for letting things slide that you shouldn’t have.
You become better. Overnight. You know you’ll overcome and dim the competition’s self-powered (with oodles of new money and energy) spotlight. Why? Because what you offer is better, it’s unique, and you’ve spent years fine-tuning it. AND because you’re about to step it up again.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t feel like you just got kicked in the gut. It’s okay to take business personally. Your clients will always win as the result – which is what they, and you, both want. And so, in the words of immunization nurses everywhere; this will only hurt a bit.
When I send out an email blast, I tend to get over a hundred autoresponder messages from wedding experts who are on vacation, out of the office or just plain busy.
Most autoresponders are professional, to the point, and say something along the lines of “We’re out of the office until whatever date. We’ll get back to you when we return.” Others say “We’ll get back to you within 1-2 business days” and are always turned on. Meh.
But what a client is hearing is probably more along the lines of “Please wait – for days, maybe a week – to give us your business. We’ll get back to you.“ What if all of us measured how many potential clients moved on to a competitor insteading of waiting? What would the tally be? 1 or 2 weddings a year? $500 or $5000? More or less?
It’s hard to know. But what I do know is a fabulous autoresponder when I see one. I love seeing entrepreneurs who use their autoresponders not just as a way to field calls and emails while they work, but also as means to send a real message. Read more…
I love LOVE! my job. It’s the only explanation I have for purposely taking on the endless hours and stress that goes with running a big fat awesome company. I also love LOVE! my company. The problem with loving what you do is that it’s oh so easy to become completely consumed. If I’m not careful, days and weeks can go by with me glued to the computer as the things I love to do, for myself and my family, get pushed off to the sidelines. Especially when I’m up against a big deadline.
The truth is, there’s always another deadline, a fire to put out, or another great idea. But time isn’t a renewable resource and knowing when to call ‘uncle’ is always a good idea. That’s why I made some pretty big (big for me, at any rate) resolutions for 2011. Here they are, in no particular order…
1. Get back to the kitchen, woman! I always enjoyed baking when I was younger. I’m going to spend some time in the kitchen with my hubby and little ones (see #3). My five year old is a big fan of all things sweet – cake, cupcakes, you name it. So I’m going to enlist her help in this area. And Brian is the chef in the house, so I’ll need is help for sure. Read more…