Residential Services

MacAtoZ helps Apple Macintosh users who want a guide and protector in the ever-changing world of technology. We establish long-term relationships with the people we serve via our Sentinel, Sentinel+, and Sentinel Ultra programs. Most of our client relationships last not just for years but for a lifetime.   

That’s not for everybody. For people who just want a quick fix or to purchase the latest Apple gizmo, the Apple retail store, BestBuy, or other Apple Authorized Resellers will be happy to help. Although we, too, can sell Apple products, we only facilitate sales to our existing clients not the general public. We are not a retail store, and we are not sales-driven. 

Instead, we offer our time and impartial expertise as Apple-certified members of the Apple Consultants Network to ensure that our clients get the best possible help. Although Apple makes a number of terrific products, they also make some clunkers. Apple won’t tell you which ones they are, but we sure will.  

Sentinel services

For years, the computer support industry has operated on a “Break-Fix” model: a computer user has a problem, they call a computer consultant, and the consultant comes out and fixes the problem. This is a reactive process, so something that might have been a small problem initially, often ends up as an enormous (and more costly) issue by the time the computer consultant arrives on the scene.  If only we could have known about the issue when it first started…With Sentinel, we can!

Our Sentinel programs provide monitoring, maintenance, and security services which help us keep track of your computer’s health and well-being, and spot potential issues before they become full-blown problems. To be clear, Sentinel only monitors computer health information. We neither see nor collect personal data of any kind. (We’re not the NSA.) Your privacy and security are crucial to us, and in fact, data preservation is one of the fundamental advantages of Sentinel.

When a potential issue is spotted, we alert you via email with specific information about what is happening with your computer, as well as the steps needed to repair the issue at hand. According to your need, our programs can also automatically run appropriate maintenance routines, complete small system and software updates and patches, scan for and quarantine malware and adware, and repair some common errors. With Sentinel Ultra, we can block malicious websites to protect you from malware, filter website content for you by site and/or by category, protect you from phishing attacks via email, and even speed up your web surfing. 

In addition to our Sentinel programs, if you need troubleshooting or training with your Macintosh computer, MacAtoZ can help. We’ll come to your home — the place where you’re most comfortable and where you regularly use your computer — and get things working again, develop a plan of action, or teach you what you want to know about using your Mac.

If you’re in one of our Sentinel programs, we also offer our services via remote support. With remote support, we can get help to you faster and, because our time is billed in just 5 minute increments of our hourly rate (with a 15 minute minimum) you pay as little as possible for the help you need.

We invite you to review the information about each of our programs (Sentinel, Sentinel+, and Sentinel Ultra) and decide which one is the best fit for you. If you’re not sure, please give us a call at 503-507-0410. We’d be happy to talk with you. 

Sentinel |  Sentinel+ | Sentinel Ultra | Sentinel AM 

 

THANK YOU! Got your email when Sentinel alerted you to my hard drive’s imminent failure. Made immediate Apple Store appointment….1 TB Hard drive fried, they will replace with 3 TB drive….Replacement drive $300, I think, but AppleCare plan saved the day!…I’m a happy camper.

Janet Long

Sentinel

The MacAtoZ Sentinel program provides 24/7 monitoring of your Apple Macintosh computer’s basic health. If there’s a problem, we’ll notify you immediately so that you can take steps to remedy the problem. That remedy may be as simple as plugging in a Time Machine hard drive (if you’ve forgotten to make a backup in a while) or as serious as having us come out for onsite repair visit. Either way, the good news is that with Sentinel we can finally be proactive and catch problems when they’re small.

Sentinel monitors over 150 data points every hour including:

  • Backup systems like Time Machine and Backblaze
  • Low disk space on hard drives and SSDs
  • Disk input/output (I/O) errors
  • Disk SMART errors
  • Boot disk selection changes
  • Failing laptop batteries
  • Kernel Panics
  • Faulty RAM
  • Unscheduled reboots
  • Failed POST tests
  • Basic malware detection

When Sentinel detects a problem, we will be notified so that we can do a professional assessment of the situation. This is important, because not every problem is worth worrying about. But if it is worthy of your attention, we will contact you so that we can take steps to resolve the problem.

Sentinel is just $14.99 a month billed to any major credit or debit card. We think Sentinel is an amazing value, and we’re so confident you’ll agree that we offer a free 30-day trial and a 60-day money back guarantee. There’s also no long-term contract, so you’re not locked into anything. You can quit at any time.

Sentinel 24/7 Monitoring

 

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Bandwidth

Sentinel works really well for people who have data caps on their Internet usage. Because the data we receive back from Sentinel is text-based, we can keep tabs on your computer’s health without using much of your Internet data bandwidth.

Requirements

Sentinel requires an internet connection and a Macintosh running macOS 10.6.8 or later.

Additional Macs

You can add an additional Mac to Sentinel, Sentinel+, or Sentinel Ultra for just $10 a month per Mac.

 

Sentinel+

Sentinel+ gives you the same 24/7 monitoring as Sentinel plus it adds Maintenance and Security. Sentinel+ is designed for home users who want to spend their time using their Mac not updating, fixing, or protecting it. If you like to tinker with your Mac’s hardware or software, Sentinel+ is not for you. On the other hand, if you want to simply use your Mac without having to update and manage it, Sentinel+ provides 24/7 proactive monitoring, maintenance, and security of your Mac so that you, the home Mac user, can worry less and enjoy more.

Among other things, Sentinel+ runs the appropriate maintenance routines, upgrades software automatically, scans for and quarantines malware and adware, fixes common disk errors, tests memory, repairs permissions, and more. And it does all these things when your Mac is idle—when you logout at night, for example— so that you’re not interrupted in the work you want to do.

Sentinel+ automatic software updates are particularly helpful for a lot of people. So many times users worry about installing updates. Will the update fix problems? Is it safe? Will it break the software because the developer messed up? Am I even downloading from the right web site? Sentinel+ takes these worries away. We keep your software updated, but we hold most updates for 10-14 days first to make sure everything’s working, then we push them out to users. (Security updates are an exception; we push those out as fast as possible.)

Sentinel+ is just $24.99 a month—about the price of a large pizza. Have a second or third Mac? Add Sentinel+ to additional Macs for just $10 a month each.

Sentinel+ Monitoring, Maintenance, & Security

 

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Bandwidth

Because Sentinel+ automatically updates the Mac’s software so you don’t have to, it likely inappropriate for those who have data caps on their Internet usage.

Requirements

Sentinel+ requires an internet connection and a Macintosh running macOS 10.7.5 or later.

Software Updates

While we’re able to update a lot of software, apps that are purchased and individually licensed through the Mac App Store will need to be updated manually through the App Store. For most other common applications, however, Sentinel+ has you covered!

 

Sentinel Ultra

Sentinel Ultra gives you the same 24/7 monitoring as Sentinel and all the Maintenance and Security Sentinel+ then it adds an incredible layer of security.

Sentinel Ultra is a four-in-one service:

  1. Protection from malicious websites.
  2. Content filtering that you control
  3. Email phishing protection
  4. Faster web surfing

The wave of Mac malware keeps growing. Sure, it’s not as awful as on a PC, but it’s an issue. Sentinel+ offers one solution: detect then quarantine malware after a Mac is infected. This works, and it works reasonably well.

But what if the bad guys find a way to create some really terrible malware like on the PC? It might be too late for Sentinel+. We’ve been worried about that for awhile, but we haven’t had a solution until now.

We’ve gone one better with Sentinel Ultra which stops malware before it gets to your Mac. If you try to go to a bad website, Ultra will stop you. At your request, we’ll set up a password system so you can bypass the block and go to the site anyway—we’re here to serve you, after all—but you shouldn’t want to. If Ultra tells you it’s a bad site, it’s a bad site.

Because Ultra also categorizes sites, it will let you block entire ranges of sites by category. Parents might want to block Adults Sites for their kids, for example. The control for web site filtering is entirely up to you. And you can block by category or by individual site. (You can also white list sites so that you can see specific sites within otherwise blocked categories.)

Ultra’s ability to block bad websites also protects you from phishing attacks. Phising is an email attempt to get you to go to a bad web site. That email looks like it came from your bank, so you click the link and again it looks like the website is your bank’s. But it’s not. It’s a fake site that exists to steal your financial information. Well, Ultra solves this problem. Because Ultra knows it’s a bad site, it will block your attempt to get to it. Ultra saves you from yourself!

Almost as a bonus, Ultra speeds up your web surfing. When you go to a website, say www.apple.com, the first thing that happens is your computer issues a request for the address. Humans might see “apple.com” but computers use numbers, so that number has to be retrieved every time you go to a new site. Ultra uses a high speed index to make this process go faster.

Sentinel Ultra is just $34.99 a month—about the price of an extra large pizza and a couple of drinks. Have a second or third Mac? Add Sentinel Ultra to additional Macs for just $10 a month each.

(If you wish, you can even add-on Sentinel AM, our anti-malware solution for another $5 a month per Mac.)

Sign up for Sentinel Ultra now

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Bandwidth

Because the Sentinel+ features of Sentinel Ultra sometime require large bandwidth to update the Mac’s software, Ultra may be  inappropriate for those who have data caps on their Internet usage. If you have this issue please let us know so we can discuss.

Requirements

Sentinel Ultra requires an internet connection and a Macintosh running macOS 10.7.5 or later.

 

Sentinel AM

And now a product you probably don’t need!

Sentinel AM (Anti-Malware) is an add-on for Sentinel+ or Sentinel Ultra. It’s the most robust, frequently updated anti-malware product we could bring to you that doesn’t interfere with the operation of your Mac. (Our experience is that a lot of anti-malware products absolutely do interfere with the operation of your Mac.)

Sentinel AM is updated almost daily with new malware definitions. That means it catches and removes more malware than Sentinel+. Although we can’t guarantee anything, in our internal testing we’ve yet to have Sentinel AM fail in detecting or removing any malware.

Sentinel AM is just $5 a month per Mac for Sentinel+ or Sentinel Ultra clients. It’s amazingly affordable.

Still, we’re not convinced you need it. That might make for a lousy sales pitch, but it’s true. If you have Sentinel Ultra running, your odds of getting malware on your system are pretty low. Sentinel AM would likely be overkill.

That said, people have different tolerances for risk. If you want the most secure Mac system possible, we’re not here to tell you that you’re wrong. Sentinel Ultra with the Sentinel AM add-on is for you.

Is there a free 30-day trial of Sentinel AM for new Sentinel+ or Sentinel Ultra clients? Yes, of course.

Is there a 60-day no-additional-cost trial of Sentinel AM for existing Sentinel+ or Sentinel Ultra clients? Yes, of course.

Contact us via email or phone (503-507-0410) to learn more about Sentinel AM or to add Sentinel AM to your existing Sentinel+ or Sentinel Ultra account.

Requirements

Sentinel AM requires an internet connection and a Macintosh running macOS 10.7.5 or later as well as a Sentinel+ or Sentinel Ultra account. Using other anti malware or antivirus software simultaneously with Sentinel AM may cause neither to work properly.