The Wild West of IT Services

In 1878, William Bonney, aka “Billy the Kid,” along with a posse of gun-toting outlaws known as the “Regulators,” wreaked havoc in New Mexico as they fought for control of dry goods and cattle interests in Lincoln County. You may be familiar with the gang and their story from the movie Young Guns (and from the Warren G and Nate Dogg song, of course).

Many words come to mind when we think about the Old West and the era Young Guns depicted including lawless, wild, and dangerous. The gang took the name “Regulators” because they believed the lawmen in their county were corrupt. Despite their violent behavior they considered themselves “good guys” and sought to regulate the cattle monopoly and make sure justice was served.

Today, there are regulators in just about every industry we work with. None of them carry around side-arms or ride into our client’s offices on horseback, but they do instill fear with threats of legal actions and heavy fines if companies aren’t compliant.

Our clients are governed by laws and regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA); the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), and the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), just to name a few.

But strangely, the one industry we are most familiar (and the one in which we work) is the one that isn’t regulated at all—Information Technology Services, or IT Support.

There are no regulations or regulators in the IT Industry. IT service providers are not governed by compliance laws. It’s almost as if the IT industry is its own Wild West.  For fly-by-night companies, having little or no regulations is a wonderful thing. Any kid with a laptop can create a website and offer IT Services for Akron businesses. There’s no one looking over their shoulder to see what they’re doing with your passwords or client’s most sensitive information.

For businesses, this is a terrifying proposition. For all you know your remote IT guy is eating Cheetos and playing video games while he claims to be monitoring your network. There is really no way of knowing for sure.

Who’s watching over your IT service provider?

So what can you do to make sure you hire the right IT Provider?

1-Make sure you only work with an established company who has earned the trust of their clients over the years. PCR has been in business since 2004 and has partnered with over a hundred Akron area businesses during that time.

2-Have a conversation with your IT Service Provider. Can they answer the following questions?

  • Are they truly maintaining critical security updates for your IT systems? Have you outgrown their ability to adequately support you?
  • Are your IT systems truly secured from hackers, viruses and rogue employees?
  • Are your backups configured properly to ensure that you could be back up and running again fast in a disaster?
  • Are you unknowingly exposing your company to expensive fines and litigation under Ohio data breach laws?
  • Does your cybersecurity program conform to the new Ohio Data Protection Act.

3-***MAKE SURE THEY ARE SOC 2 CERTIFIED*** PCR Business Systems made the choice to get SOC 2 audited in order to give our clients peace of mind.

We are one of—if not the only— IT Service Provider in Northeast Ohio to be SOC 2 audited. That means we’ve spent the time and money to ensure what we promise to our clients—both in terms of the privacy and data protection protocols we follow, as well as the services we offer—is exactly what we deliver.

For more information schedule a FREE IT Discussion with me.

Pat Carroll

President, PCR Business Systems

Email me Directly

Our Favorite Trails in Akron & Northeast Ohio

It’s easy to take Akron’s outdoor recreational opportunities for granted—especially when we compare our backyards with those living in Colorado or Wyoming or Maine. Sure, residents of those states are blessed with amazing scenery and vast open spaces to explore by foot or on bike, but those of us living in Northeast Ohio have it pretty good too.

For example, did you know that the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has over 125 miles of trails for us to enjoy, or that 57.6 miles of the 1,440-mile Buckeye Trail (which circles the state of Ohio) passes through Akron, with only 4% of that on sidewalks?

These trails range in difficulty from easy to advanced and there are plenty of different options for kids, older adults, and more serious athletes and trail runners. That’s pretty impressive considering that many of us live near a large city (Akron or Cleveland).

In addition, we are surrounded by several amazing park systems as well as numerous lakes and streams that offer abundant fishing and kayaking opportunities (including the Cuyahoga River which was just named River of the Year).

I mention all of this because at PCR Business Systems, we understand how important it is to be active outside of the office. We not only want to be happy and healthy for our families and ourselves, but being fit also makes us more productive at work. We believe getting active as a team is truly motivating, as evidenced in our May Movement Challenge.

We recently discussed how exercise and productivity go hand in hand. That, combined with spring being in full bloom, we thought this would be a good time to list a few of our favorite Akron hiking and running trails as well as some of the resources we use to help us get out the door and lace up our running and hiking shoes.

Brandywine Falls, CVNP

Hiking/Running/Biking Trails

Brandywine Falls Trail 1.4 Miles Hiking Moderate Boston Heights, OH
3 Waterfalls Loop 7.5 Miles Hiking Moderate Brecksville, OH
Adam Run Trail 3.3 Miles Hiking Moderate Northampton, OH
Buckeye Trail 57.6 Miles Multi-Purpose Moderate Akron, OH
Towpath Trail 87 Miles Multi-Purpose Easy to Moderate Cleveland to Akron
Blue Hen to Buttermilk 1.6 Miles Hiking Moderate Brecksville, OH
Dogwood Trail 2.3 Miles Hiking Moderate Akron, OH
Sand Run Jogging Trail 6 Miles Multi-Purpose Easy Akron, OH
More CVNP Hikes + 125 Miles Mult-Purpose Easy to Moderate NE Ohio


Running Stores

Trail Running Groups

Running Races

Please comment and let us know which trails are your favorites.

PCR Fitness Challenge

Fitness and productivity go hand in hand!

A happy and healthy employee has more energy for work, is generally more positive and focused, and is just more likely to get things done! That’s why—in addition to aiming to improve our overall health and wellness—several members of the PCR team recently joined (and completed) the TrAk Athletics Fitness Challenge.

The Details:

Members of the PCR Team began participating in the event on March 9, 2019 with a kick-off workout and weigh-in. The official challenge ran through April 6.

The Goal:

To get fit so that we can be our best selves in and out of the office.

Kevin lost an amazing 17 pounds!

The Rules:

Points were scored for fat-loss, attendance and workouts completed, and cash prizes were handed out based on the amount of body fat lost.

The Results:

As a team we lost well over 65 pounds!!! The big winners (or losers) were Kevin McQuillen, who lost a remarkable 17 pounds and 10% body fat, and Josh Huffman who lost 15.7 pounds. Incredible job, guys!

Overall everyone did great!!!

The TrAk Athletics Fitness Challenge was just a small part of our long-term goal to become more fit as a team, and we plan to continue this trend of being a happier and healthier work staff here at PCR.

We hope you join us in doing the same!

Ohio’s Data Protection Act: What you need to know

We’ve written a lot about cybersecurity and why it’s so important to protect your customer’s sensitive data from cyber-attacks. We don’t write these articles with the intent to scare you, or to try and get you to purchase software you don’t need or implement data security plans that don’t match the scale of your business.

The goal of these articles is to help you prepare and defend your business against these attacks.

The Ohio Data Protection Act

If you still haven’t taken the necessary steps to protect your data, maybe Ohio’s new Data Protection Act (DPA) will offer the additional (legal) motivation you need. The DPA “provides a safe harbor against data breach lawsuits for businesses that implement and maintain cybersecurity programs that meet certain industry-recognized standards.”

What does this mean?  In its simplest form, if your business implements and maintains an effective cybersecurity program, as outlined by the DPA, you may receive special protection from litigation in the event of a security incident or breach.

Why is this important to my business? Some cyber-attacks may be unavoidable. However, if your cybersecurity “reasonably conforms” to the Ohio Data Protection Act standards it can protect your business against lawsuits from customers (and other companies) whose private data was accessed by unauthorized third parties.

What are the DPA standards? To take advantage of the safe harbor provision, your cybersecurity program must:

  • Protect the security and confidentiality of personal information
  • Protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security of that information
  • Protect against unauthorized access to that information

In addition, the DPA recognizes there is no one size fits all approach to data security, and a small mom and pop craft store, for example, should not have to meet the same level of cybersecurity as a bank which is responsible tons of highly sensitive data. Thus, the DPA says that an effective program takes into account:

  • The size (and complexity) of the business
  • The nature of the business and its activities
  • The sensitivity of the information that needs to be protected
  • How expensive it is and the tools available to improve security and protect against attacks
  • Business resources available

Finally, your business must reasonably conform to one of eight cybersecurity frameworks:

  • NIST
  • FedRAMP
  • GLBA
  • CIS Controls
  • ISO 27000 Family

What’s the next step for my business? Implement a cybersecurity program immediately!

We can’t stress this enough. Cyber-attacks destroy businesses every day. A proper cybersecurity program not only can prevent these attacks from happening, but in the rare event attackers still find a way past your security, you can be protected from lawsuits that can bankrupt your business.

If you or your IT department are familiar with the above frameworks, great! Get started implementing your plan today.

If you need any help creating your cybersecurity plan, or simply want more information on the new Data Protection Act, please give me a call directly at 330.572.7575, or email me at

I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have, or we can schedule a Free IT Discussion to chat about you current cybersecurity program to see if it meets the DPA standards.


Pat Carroll

President, PCR Business Systems

In-House or Outsourced IT: what’s right for your business?

PCR Business Systems provides outsourced IT services for business that don’t have their own IT department. Each of the businesses we work with find that outsourcing their IT is more cost-effective and also more comprehensive as we have an entire team of dedicated professionals (and the most current IT tools) to help manage their IT.

Yet even though our business focuses on providing outsourced IT, that doesn’t mean that outsourced IT is right for everyone. Some businesses may find that having their own in-house IT department makes more sense for their them.

We’ve created this questionnaire to answer that question for you—what’s right for your business, in-house or outsourced IT? These 11 questions will provide you with an unbiased opinion of what we think will work best for your business at this time.

Click here to begin

Network Security Risk Assessment

Is your business at risk for a Cyber Security Attack?

Our questionnaire will assess your Cyber Security risks and help prevent attacks from ever occurring.

Prevention… In the NFL, it’s a defensive scheme designed to guard against the big play. Except, it seems every time I watch a team go into the prevent defense the opponent drives down the field in a matter of seconds and kicks the game-winning field goal.

Maybe I’ve watched too many Browns games over the years, but this conservative approach to winning always seems to end poorly. I like a coach who goes after the quarterback when the game is on the line—a coach who brings the heat and always keeps the offense off-balance.

I feel the same way about defending against hackers. As soon as you relax your cyber security defense, hackers will find a way to attack where you’re most vulnerable.


Free Cyber Security Assessment for Small Businesses

Prevention is key to preventing a cyber attack, but it’s not as simple as putting a few security measures in place to guard against the big attack. You must have a proactive prevention plan in place, you must stay up-to-date on the latest cyber security risks, and you must keep the pressure on hackers by constantly updating and monitoring your network to let them know not to mess with your business.

As we’ve written about in our Cyber Crime Files, cyber attacks can happen to any size business. That includes yours.

So what can you do to actively prevent a cyber attack? You can start by taking this cyber security network assessment to see if your business is prepared.

We designed this high-level cyber security assessment exclusively for small businesses owners so that you can assess your cyber security risks and conclude if you have the proper preventative measures in place.

We hope you find value in our cyber security assessment. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out and we’ll be happy to help your business set up the best defense against cyber criminals.