In the News

Protecting data: Key to business survival

By Carrie Simmons / Staff Writer - Westford Eagle
Thursday, May 20, 2004

As companies integrate technology advances into their operations to meet the needs of clients and attract new business, it is even more critical for managers to prevent technology pitfalls and protect computers and networks from viruses, worms and hijacking, according to Ann Westerheim, president and founder of Ekaru, a strategic technology services company based in Westford.

"Technology is just as strategic for a local law firm as it is for a big downtown firm," said Westerheim. "But with so much new technology, it's impossible for business owners to keep on top of everything."

Technology failure can mean a direct loss of time, money and customers, according to Westerheim, and her company has developed a series of seminars for small businesses to address issues like backing up data, optimizing anti-virus software and wireless network security.

"Wide open wireless networks are more widespread than people think," said Westerheim. "Owners are shocked when they find out someone could go into their parking lot and get into their network."

Although security is a major concern for business managers, confusion abounds for many companies without information technology administrators, according to Westerheim, and many business managers are unaware that they need to change default passwords and activate encryption for wireless networks, or that they need a firewall for a dial-up connection.

"Everyone needs a firewall, whether you are running one system or a whole network," said Westerheim. "And if you don't run live updates, anti-virus software doesn't do anything."

Westerheim said the best way to manage office technology is to be proactive not reactive.

"It's not very expensive to do it right, but it's very expensive when you don't do it right," said Westerheim.

Ekaru's engineers visit clients like PESystems, an IT consulting firm with offices on Littleton Road, monthly to maintain and upgrade both office and anti-virus software, to ensure that networks are performing at optimal levels and to troubleshoot any problems.

"Office networks and computing machinery is critical to our business," said David Clapp, senior vice president for PESystems. "And computer security gets more important as the number of viruses and incursions increases."

Ekaru's next seminar sponsored by the Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce and Comcast will be held on June 17 at the Residence Inn by Marriott on Lan Drive. "Don't Forget the Home Office: A Little Technology TLC Goes a Long Way" will teach home office users how to establish proper security against intrusion and viruses, how to securely connect a home office to a main business office, and how to balance home and office use so business data is secure.

Call 866-463-5278 or visit or for more information.

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