Ransom

Don’t Pay the Ransom – Prepare In Advance, Instead

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that can be covertly installed on a computer without the intention or even the knowledge of the user. These viruses encrypt and hold data hostage until a ransom is paid to hackers.  The malware restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Chortek’s backup and disaster recovery services are a key tool that reduces business risk.  This fact is reinforced by a recent publication from the FBI regarding “ransomware”. The FBI warns that having a good backup is the only way to recover from a ransomware attack, short of paying the hackers the ransom.  The FBI does not recommend that.

Contact Mike SenkbeilChortek’s IT Support Center team at 262-522-8226 if you would like a free check of your data backup solution.

90 Minds

Sage Software’s Road-map Unveils Product Line

90 Minds Consulting Group has a Meeting of the Minds

The 6th annual Meeting of the Minds conference was held on February 23-25, 2017.  Sue Wolf, a 90 Minds member, attended the event.  During the event, attendees had an opportunity to learn more about Sage software products, product plans and future strategy as well as participate in question and answer sessions after each presentation. Read More >

network login security

Who Is Logging Into Your Computer? Avoid The Pitfalls

NETWORK LOGIN SECURITY

It sounds like a simple concept as we have logged into computers at work for years. Why discuss it? The old combination of username and password is simply not sufficient any longer to safely secure the ultimate place where business data is accessed: the Windows desktop or laptop PC.

The pitfalls are numerous: Read More >

inbox clutter web

One-Two Punch to Tame Your Inbox

Email hasn’t gone away yet. Despite predictions of social media and other communication apps taking the place of email, it remains a primary tool for business communications. Often, its effectiveness is hugely decreased by junk that doesn’t need immediate attention. I recommend two ways of making your email work better: reduce inbox clutter and make sure you are interrupted only for important emails. Read More >

business travel

Business Travel Mileage Rates Lowered – 2017

ACCOUNTING TODAY NEWS – The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2017 optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

BUSINESS TRAVEL MILEAGE RATES – 2017

Beginning Jan. 1, standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped  2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

“Factors contributing to the decision on this year’s slight decrease in the Safe Harbor reimbursement rate include declining fuel prices, which were largely offset by rising vehicle insurance and maintenance costs,” said Donna Koppensteiner, senior vice president of business development at Runzheimer, a business vehicle, relocation information and expense management services provider that provided data research and analytics to the IRS.

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

The IRS reiterated that taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates. A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost recovery System (MACRS), or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than four vehicles used simultaneously.

These and other requirements are in Rev. Proc. 201051. Notice 201679 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.

Questions? Contact Pat Wirth, Tax Partner

ita collaborative 2016

Chortek Among Leaders of the IT Profession

LEADERS OF THE IT PROFESSION

Chortek was among leaders of the IT profession throughout the US and Canada at the ITA (Information Technology Alliance) www.italliance.com Fall Collaborative. Mike Senkbeil, Partner and leader of Chortek’s IT Team, and Steve Krueger, Principal and head of Chortek’s Business Technology Consulting Team,  attended the ITA Collaborative. Most noteworthy, the ITA event, held at the M Resort in Las Vegas in early December, was also co-located with the Digital CPA Conference.

CHORTEK’S MEMBERSHIP  BENEFITS OUR CLIENTS

Chortek has been ITA members for six years.  Chortek’s membership with the ITA allows for the opportunity to network with our peers from other CPA firms and leaders of the IT profession, other software reselling practices, and focus on best practices. Furthermore, added networking with leading providers of products and services trending in the industry,  improve our ability to serve our clients.

smartphone costs

Managing International Travel Smartphone Costs

When traveling internationally, there are two major issues to plan for regarding smartphone usage: cybersecurity best practices and management of usage costs. In a prior article, I discussed the cybersecurity concerns involved in smartphone usage during international travel. In this article, I’ll be focusing on the latter, the subject of international roaming costs, and I’ll share my experiences from recent international travel. Read More >

fed-govt-compliance_web

2016 Post-election Tax Update – What Now?

Any change in Presidential Administration brings the possibility, indeed the likelihood, of tax law changes and the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States is no exception. During the campaign, President-elect Trump outlined a number of tax proposals for individuals and businesses. This letter highlights some of the President-elect’s tax proposals. Keep in mind that a candidate’s proposals can, and often do, change over the course of a campaign and also after taking office. This letter is based on general tax proposals made by the President-elect during the campaign and is intended to give a broad-brush snapshot of those proposals. Read More >

cybersecurity smartphones

Smartphone Cybersecurity For International Travel

When traveling internationally, there are two major issues to plan for regarding smartphone usage: cybersecurity best practices and management of usage costs.  In a future article, I will discuss management of carrier charges while traveling internationally.  In this article, I’ll discuss the cybersecurity concerns involved in smartphone usage during international travel. Read More >