WILBRAHAM – The small shop at 2785 Boston Rd. in Wilbraham is filled with shelving racks where customers ’devices are seated. There isn’t much space to work in small rooms, but the spaces are used effectively. Anywhere that electronic equipment is not used is occupied by posters and models of various sci-fi franchises, mostly Star Wars.
“We’re all geeks,” said owner Aristeo Torres. The strange nature of the store belies the skill of Torres, his partner Jan Macon and the five technicians working under Torres ’supervision at POST Computer Systems. The word POST in the business name is an acronym meaning “power-on, self-test,” a diagnostic testing sequence used to repair a computer.
POST Computer Systems started 30 years ago in the basement of Torres and Macon. Torres has technology knowledge, while Macon is the business manager. Since then, Torres has taught Macon about computers and says he is now a specialist in data retrieval. Today, the company has more than 10,000 customers in its database.
“Service is what we do,” Torres said. “We’re in the process of fixing things. If it can’t be fixed, let’s tell them, ”Torres said. “It’s about the people.”
POST Computer Systems also sells equipment, including brands such as Nexlink, Lenovo and HP. Prices are slightly higher than what would be seen in a large box store, Torres said the quality is higher and includes better customer service.
Torres said POST technicians are trained to go “up and forward to plug it in and say, ‘Okay, it works.’ We’re all about, ‘what do you have to do with the machine? Are you starting a business? Do you need tools for that business? ‘”
While Torres prides himself on helping individuals with computer needs, he said, “Small business is where we shine.”
Once POST has helped set up a business’s technology needs, it works with that company to keep it updated and running. “We’re outside every day,” Torres told his technicians. POST Computer Systems will serve customers within a nearly 25 mile radius around Springfield.
The POST website, https://www.pocosys.com, has a tab that reads, “Help!” for remote support, a service Torres explains is only for existing customers.
While POST is still fixing computers, Torres said, “In today’s world, it’s more than just security.” Torres said 10 to 15 years ago, viruses existed but not as many as today. He said the store sees at least one customer per day with problems related to scams and traps.
Torres shared three different customers who recently arrived after losing $ 8,000, $ 7,500 and $ 17,500, respectively. The Police Department did not help retrieve the lost money from another customer but sent him to POST to help get the computer back and run safely and save what data they could. “The people who do this are really bad,” Torres said.
POST technicians, including a military veteran trained in cybersecurity, will work to retrieve data that has been deleted or locked up by scammer. Torres said that although they are not always successful, “Nine out of 10 times, we can save the data.”
Education is the key to preventing scams and hacks, Torres said. Most people who fall victim to scam artists and hackers are not computer savvy. He said seniors are the primary target of scammer, but businesses have also fallen victim to attempts to access networks. Torres offers some simple tips to keep computer systems safe:
If you don’t know the person, don’t chat on social media.
If you receive a suspicious call, just put the call down.
If you see something related, turn off the computer.
And Torres’ number one rule is, “Don’t let anyone but me and my group into your computer.”
POST Computer Systems has partnered with Palmer’s Top Floor Learning to offer computer and security classes for individuals. The business also teaches seminars to local companies on how to protect themselves from hackers. Torres said network violations are often due to an employee clicking on something they don’t need.
Torres didn’t see the need to fix the computer that would no longer be available at any hour. “As long as you’re pushing papers, you’re using computers,” he said. The business is also constantly evolving technology. When POST Computer Systems opened, the main devices they worked on were desktops. Now the shelves are filled with laptops, as well as tablets and cellphones.
Smart devices are, “a self-inflicted addiction,” Torres said, adding that people are married to their devices, but “don’t want to know about them, they just want them to work.” Torres said some of the new technicians are better off with smart phones than he is, but between employees and owners, someone who works there can handle most of the equipment.
“I think we need it for a long time,” Torres promised.
POST Computer Systems can be reached at 596-5177.