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Beiseker cybersecurity specialist wants you to avoid getting hacked

Beiseker's Michael Duffy said he has worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years, and said he finds the most common challenge is educating customers on the importance of data back-ups and cybersecurity.

As the world continues to embrace technology and migrate toward a culture of working from home, a data protection and IT services specialist based in Beiseker wants to prevent Albertans from losing their data and getting hacked.

Don’t Get Hacked launched in August 2021. Based in Beiseker, business founder and CEO Michael Duffy said he wanted to open a computer repair and IT services company that would educate people on their electronic devices and help them improve their cybersecurity.

In essence, he said the goal of his start-up is reflected in its name.  

“It’s a new spin on an IT company,” said Duffy, who moved to the village of Beiseker in 2014. “A lot of people are working remotely now, so everything is more spread out, and people have more education and knowledge about computer things.

“But at the end of the day, you need to be concerned about computer security and making sure you know were all your data is.”

Duffy – who said his clients call him 'Mike the Nerd' – said he has worked in the IT industry for more than 20 years. He said he finds the most common challenge is educating customers on the importance of data back-ups and cybersecurity.

He said educating people to avoid falling victim to hackers or scammers is the main mission behind Don’t Get Hacked.

“You hear about people getting scammed online all the time, disaster strikes, hackers, user error – something happens to people and then they’re devastated, because they didn’t know they needed a back-up or they kept pushing it off,” he said.

Previously a resident of Calgary for 15 years, Duffy said his relocation to Beiseker eight years ago was based on the village’s lack of traffic – something that irked him on a daily basis while living in the big city.

In addition, he said the village’s location, while remote, still allows for him to travel to other communities on business, whether that means driving to Calgary, Edmonton, Canmore, or anywhere else he needs to be.

“It’s great to work from home, but sometimes, you need to go on site and see someone face to face to help them through their technology issues,” he said.

Prior to launching Don’t Get Hacked, Duffy said he worked for a franchise computer services company for many years. He said the motivation to branch out and open his own business was based on the freedom that comes with not being tied to a larger franchise’s business model.

“I can change services, prices, marketing – I just have full control over all of that stuff now and I’m not impeded,” he said. “There have been so many more opportunities open up since I have no rules anymore. I’ve always been self-employed and my own boss, but now I can just do what I want and try a whole bunch of things. Before, I was limited to the confines of the franchise’s rules.”

Apart from his company, he said he also answers IT-related questions on an American YouTube channel – Mupo Entertainment – and mentioned he has a book coming out later this year.

“People have generic questions about computers, and you can get some generic answers off Google and YouTube, but sometimes you need a reassuring professional to say, ‘Yes, this is the right way to do it,’ or ‘No, don’t do that because you’re wasting your time,’” he said.

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