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Making computer and communications systems easy

EZ Solutions in North Liberty takes the worry out of technology

NORTH LIBERTY– In this digital age, technology can be confusing at best, and intimidating at worst. The Internet, which 20-years ago involved dial-up modems and long waits to download content, has progressed to instant information exchange, including transacting business in mere seconds. The technology continues to improve, with more and more devices in life connected to the cloud, but it has also become more complex, with little to no user-repairable components.
Nate Folker, owner of EZ Solutions in North Liberty, has made a business out of solving peoples’ computer terrors since October 2018.
“We do IT (Information Technology) services for residential, business and small-to-medium enterprises,” Folker explained.
That includes Internet security, antivirus protection as well as protection from malware and other online evils.
“The average person really doesn’t know what they need,” Folker said. “They just know they need to keep themselves safe from bad guys, hackers; they know they need back-ups, but they don’t know what else they would need. So, we provide everything.”
For a business, EZ Solutions provides a telephone system, website, hosting servers, security and back-ups.
“Everything they will need to stay successful, and allow them to focus on their bottom line rather than not sleeping because their back-up isn’t working, or ‘if the company burns down tomorrow, we’ll lose everything,’” he noted.
Many companies utilize cyber insurance, he said, which he considers farcical. “It’s like a Dark Web scam, it doesn’t do anything for you whatsoever.”
The Dark Web, he said, is the outskirts of the Internet. One could think of it as the Wild, Wild West of old: a wild, unregulated place where nefarious people engage in all manner of activity, most of it illegal, including selling Social Security and credit card numbers. “The average person does not have access to it,” Folker said. “You need special software, or special plug-ins, a special tool set that all the movies in the world aren’t going to show you how to use.”
Many insurance companies, he pointed out, will bring in an IT company to inspect the system in the case of hacking or a server failure and declare it has been failing for several months. The insurance company will then deny the claim.
“So what we’ll do is we will sit down with you, go over what you have, what you want to do, what your goals for your company are. We’re like a coach and consulting firm.”
Once the needs have been identified, Folker and his staff build a complete system in their lab.
“We’ll design it, build it, test it, and then deploy it.”
Although it sounds simple enough, Folker said there’s a lot that goes into it.
“People just think you ‘click, click, click’ and it’s done. I wish it was that simple, but no.”
Most of us have little to no knowledge of what goes on inside our computers, and like it that way until something goes wrong. For those with a Mac suffering malaise, or a perturbing PC, Folkers is ready to help.
“A lot of people just want to bring their computer in here and have us fix it for them. OK, we can plug it in and see what’s on the computer, print off a full diagnostic (report), and then fix it,” he said.
Among the most common computer ailments Folker sees are viruses infecting the system.
A virus, contracted via the Internet, is a malicious program spread through email attachments, portable devices, websites and file downloads. Just as a virus makes a person sluggish and sick, so, too, will a computer virus slow down the operations, or even cripple the computer. Some viruses are contagious in how they can infiltrate and damage other files and spread to others. EZ Solutions has the means to remove even the most insidious virus.
“We also do forensics, clients bring in a computer and say, ‘Hey, my employee got fired, he deleted all the files,’ we can recover that,” Folker explained. “If a drive has been dropped, we can send it out and get it taken care of, usually within a few days.”
The most common problem, however, is with external hard drives, which are used by many for back-ups and storage.
“They use an external hard drive and say, ‘It’ll never fail.’ And then they drop it, or the drive quits working. It’s a convenience. It’s not really designed for long-term storage. It has no fail-safe in place. So if it’s backing up data, and it fails, it has no idea it’s failed. It will just keep backing up, but the problem is, it’s backing up corrupted data. We see that a lot.”
Less common, but no less devastating, is a ransomware attack where a computer is not only hacked, but also taken over with all of its data and files held hostage.
EZ Solution has ransomware safeguards integrated into the software systems it installs.
EZ Solutions utilizes multiple layers of security including intrusion detection, Artificial Intelligence (AI) to seek out and destroy ransomware, and web filtering to catch viruses and malware before they can do any harm.
Consumer-grade anti-spyware and malware programs aren’t always effective, Folker said. “They use signatures, kind-of like a flu virus. With a flu virus you have ‘A,’ ‘B’ and ‘C.’ With signatures you have ‘A,’ ‘B,’ and ‘C.’ Well if ‘D’ comes along, they don’t know what to do with that.”
And then there’s backing up all those files. There are a number of alternatives from external hard drives to back up services. Folker said, they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. “Most backup providers, they don’t test their backups on a weekly basis. We’ve seen too many instances where the client has installed one of those cheap backup systems, and they go to retrieve their files, and their files don’t exist, or they’re corrupted because all this time, it’s been backing up these same corrupted files, and since nothing’s checked or verified, so nothing’s usable.”
EZ Solution’s back up system was designed and built in-house and automatically backs up the customer’s files.
“It will back up their files, while they’re using them. It backs up their files and sends them a report.”
And it backs up all devices including smart phones.
“Everything they have on-site or in their house gets backed up.”
Folker has an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology and Information Security and is certified as a Master Electronics Technician.
“There’s really nothing I can’t fix,” he said.
He’s been learning his craft since he was 11 years old (he’s in his 40s now). He started his own computer business at the age of 15 with his dad’s help.
“We were servicing colleges, shopping malls, lawyers, pretty much anyone who had a computer,” he said.
Since then, he’s attended countless seminars and conferences and conventions.
“Never stop learning,” he said. “It’s grown from a home-based business to this. I don’t consider it work, it’s fun.”
With all sorts of scams in the computer world, people ask Folker how can they trust him over other, larger providers.
“We will show you everything we’re doing to your computer,” he said. “It’s about personal service and making sure the client’s investment is fully protected.”
Folker, his wife Katie and father-in-law Dale can be reached at 319-359-3355 or toll free at 844-487-7642. For more information go to www.ezsolutions.us or email them at info@ezsolutions.us. EZ Solutions is located at 1295 Jordan St., Ste. 2, in North Liberty.
“We’re just trying to explain to people how they can stay safe on the Internet, and protected from ransomware and all those other things, and at the same time let them know if they need help or support, there’s a local resource,” he concluded.