Most of the companies we work with have now embraced the Windows 10 operating system, but there are some who, just like with Windows XP, are just not willing to upgrade to the new operating system.
There are some writers out there in the world who would say,” Why do users get so attached to a specific operating system and refuse to change”?
I can only give you my opinion, and it’s a straight forward one. Business owners and employees, for the most part, aren’t all that interested in new, fancy features within an operating system. They just don’t care all that much.
What they want and need is a reliable operating system, upon which they can safely and securely operate the software programs they need in order to fun their business. Period. Learning how to navigate a new operating system just takes time away from the job they are being paid to do, which is to keep their employer happy, or keep their employees working, and to make a profit. Plain and simple.
Well, as of January 14, 2020, that decision to stick with the operating system they know and understand will be taken out of their hands. For users other than those in certain environments, support for Windows 7 is going away, for good. Why? I came across an explanation at PC Magazine, that explains the reasoning.
“Support for Windows 7 is set to end on Jan 14. 2020, but access to Windows updates may end in March if you don’t allow your Windows 7 machines to download and install Microsoft’s next patch.
As MSPoweruser reports, Microsoft needs to ensure that the operating system updates end users receive haven’t been tampered with. It does this using SHA-1and SHA-2 hash algorithms to authenticate the updates. The problem is, the SHA-1 algorithm has a weakness and can no longer be relied upon.
As Windows 7 SP1, Windows 2008 SP1, and SP2 all rely on SHA-1 encryption, they need updating with support for SHA-2 as future Windows updates will require it. So next month Microsoft is rolling out an update to add support for SHA-2 encryption for its oldest supported operating systems. If you’re a Windows 7 user and don’t install this critical update, wave goodbye to any future Windows patches.”
The update that is referred to went out in March, so if you didn’t get the memo, you are out of luck. It’s time to get on the bandwagon and prepare your systems and personnel for Windows 10.
Unified Technology Solutions is prepared to get things installed and up and running smoothly for you over the next six months. Please, don’t wait until the last minute to build your install schedule. That’s when things can go wrong. It’s best to build a plan and prepare now.
Your business has outgrown your current computer systems. Now’s time to upgrade your entire office and network. Because the network affects everyone, targeted communications must detail the impact of the upgrade. Understanding how end users access and leverage the network for their specific job role is important when explaining how an upgrade will impact their duties both during the maintenance window and after the upgrade is complete.
Determine a rollout strategy
A rollout strategy should finely balance the speed of deployment with the risk of making mistakes that bring down the network. Your goal should be to find the optimal comfort level for the organization such that the upgrade can be performed in a reasonable amount of time without taking any major risks. Unified Technology Solutions is experienced in building just such a strategy for companies.
Have a back-out strategy
Just as the rollout plan is critically important, so too is a back-out strategy. Spend just as much time figuring out a back-out strategy as you do an implementation strategy. Even though you might not ever need it, you’ll be very happy you spent the time and effort in the event you do.
Train support staff
The same people who design, architect, and deploy the new network upgrade may not be the same people supporting it once it goes into production. This is especially true if you work for a large organization or hire outside consultants to handle the upgrade. Proper training is critical to the care and maintenance of a network upgrade from day one and beyond.
Document, document, document!
The step that is most often skipped over – yet is absolutely critical to the success of a network — is to thoroughly document the upgrade, how the new technology works, and how to maintain it once it’s in production. Documentation should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. A network upgrade that includes detailed documentation is far more likely to be considered successful when support staffers have the information they can refer to for help.
Just remember that proper planning, communication, and training can help ensure a successful network upgrade. If you don’t have an IT Department of your own, or even if you do, we can work with you to put a comprehensive upgrade plan together and it can make a systems upgrade much less painful.
on April 12, 2019 Comments Off on Beware The Botnets!
Have you ever heard of Botnets? It sounds a little like the name for some cute cartoon one might see on Cartoon Network, but it’s not.
What is Botnet? According to Wikipedia: ” A botnet is a number of Internet-connected devices, each of which is running one or more bots. Botnets can be used to perform distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack), steal data, send spam, and allows the attacker to access the device and its connection. “
Why do you need to know about Botnets? Because, your system could be a part of a Botnet. Those crafty Botnet builders slink around infecting multiple devices with their Botnet viruses, and then they use them.
I found out about Botnets from this post on the AVG Website. This is an excerpt from a post they wrote about online threats we should all be watching out for this year.
The one for megalomaniacs
Simply put, this is when a hacker creates nasty malware that enslaves thousands upon thousands of smart devices (your PC included) in order to get the processing power to do some greater evil. What you probably didn’t know: you might not even notice.
What does being part of a botnet do?
Make your PC run slower. Give you other types of malware. Make you feel ashamed: normally it comes with spyware or ransomware. But the wider picture: your PC could be unknowingly working to attack websites or networks, steal passwords, social security numbers, credit card details, addresses and phone numbers of innocent people around the world. Eeek.
Prepare yourself in 2019
In 2016, botnets made up 33% of all detected malware. In 2018, botnets made up 78%! Not surprising when you think about all the new IoT stuff we’re making every year. But here’s what you do: first, update your devices passwords and use anti-malware to regularly check for infections. Second, search for your IP address in a specific attack if you’re suspicious (here’s a page), and third, use a free network analysis tool such as Wireshark or Snort to monitor your Internet traffic for unusual activity.”
If you systems are running slower than usual, it may be time to have us come in and take a look. We can run some of the most effective software tools to check your servers and your network to make sure its free and clear of viruses.
It’s your company. It has your name on the door and your reputation is on the line if things don’t go well. We understand that. But trying to do everything yourself just doesn’t always work. Let us help.
Here in America, we take pride in self reliance. It’s important that we be able to wear many hats and take care of things ourselves. But is that really the best way to do things? Is it the most effective way to run your business? Probably not.
You spend countless hours educating yourself and working with your staff on the things you need to know to be the best you can be in your area of business. How can you also devote the time and resources it would take to be an expert in Information Technology, software and hardware?
We at Unified Technology Solutions can take over that part of your business for you. It’ doesn’t mean that you should stop learning about new advances in technology, it just means that you can trust us to resolve your tech issues so that you can work on your business.
Servers, Cloud storage and back up, internet security, preventing malware attacks and recovering from hardware crashes, that’s what we do. We also have help desk services for when your people encounter a software or hardware problem. Some issues require us to be on site, but there are also issues we can solve by logging in remotely and diagnosing the problem right from our offices.
Give us a call at : 772.539.7667 to set up an appointment for us to come and learn more about your operation and you to learn more about our services.
Voice Over Internet Protocol is a fancy name for you don’t need a landline to have a sophisticated business phone system for your company. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, VoIp was clunky and the echoing on phone calls was extremely annoying. Yes, it was cheaper than a landline, but for business use, not very good
All that has changed. VoIp phone systems are sophisticated, the ability to have conversations without the echo is encouraging, and the integration between wireless and office phone systems give employees all the flexibility to be out of the office on work related tasks, while still having the ability to respond to their phone calls.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, things are due to get even better. Wireless systems are being upgraded from 4G networks to 5G networks. Why do you care? Well, for one reason, that means communications and data handling ability are going to be more seamless. Everything will be faster when it comes to wireless, and because VoIp is internet base, that means VoIp communications will be even better.
This is what www.techadvisory.org has to say
Virtual and augmented reality
“With 5G network speeds, virtual and augmented reality will become more common for SMBs. 5G will blow past 4G’s Gbps (gigabits per second) limit, which is currently holding back the adoption of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications.
VR and AR need to process significantly more data because of the visuals they must process as users move, and this puts an enormous strain on mobile networks. 5G is also set to ensure a better user experience by facilitating smoother connections and preventing network delays from affecting your bottom line.
VoIP calls rely heavily on sufficient download and upload speeds. For example, when mobile VoIP users on 4G networks are limited to 12Mbps upload and 2Mbps download speeds, they experience unstable and poor call connectivity and clarity. These limitations could also lead to something called packet loss, which happens when one or more “packets” of data traveling across a computer network fail to reach their destination, typically caused by network congestion.”
Still not sure what all of this means for your company? Give us a call and we can meet and talk about your current phone system, what the advantages and cost savings could be for your company and how to make it all work for you.
Want to keep your business safe from cyber
breaches? When your employees are online, threats come in multiple forms. These
include phishing, cross-site scripting, scams, malware and various other forms
of hacking. Keeping employees safe online is the responsibility of everyone in
the organization. At the highest level, however, it is the responsibility of
management and people with the ultimate authority.
When it comes to keeping employees safe at the
personal level, having an especially strong password policy can limit external
threats. Hackers typically exploit employees’ use of weak or common passwords,
using brute force to guess and crack passwords.
Who doesn’t remember the movie “Hackers”? Employees had not listened to the IT support
and had weak common passwords (I believe it was god) and that was how the
hackers gained access.
These days, constructing a strong password
will consist of condensing an entire sentence, at least 12 characters long,
into one cohesive word. These sentences can be shortened or abbreviated, but
the point is, single words just don’t cut it anymore.
If you’re using numbers, never use ones that
are related to addresses, birthdays, and other searchable information as those
details are easily accessible by hackers. Also as convenient as it may be, do
not let your browser remember your password. This information is open to
hackers, especially if your device is misplaced or stolen.
More importantly have different passwords for different accounts. It is common for individuals to utilize the
same password for multiple accounts, but even at a minimum, employees should
have at least two separate passwords for personal and business accounts.
A strong password policy makes it harder for hackers to crack passwords and breach your network. Passwords should be changed on a regular basis. In addition, you should invest in your workers’ education concerning threats and cyber security practices. Everyone in the organization needs to adhere to strong cybersecurity practices that protect the individual and the entire company network.
All too often, I.T. is treated like secondary concern by small business owners who’ve recently made it through the lean, DIY startup years. They might see IT support as an option rather than a necessity. But what happens when something goes wrong? What can you gain from technical support that you may not notice? Maybe the bigger question is, what can you expect to receive from your technical support service?
Issue Resolution – This goes without saying; after all, it is the bread and butter of technical support. More than likely, this is the main reason you use support. If you’re in a pinch, they are there to bail you out. The peace of mind you get knowing that tech experts who already know your systems are available to get your systems back up and running quickly. Having someone knowledgeable to resolve tech issues to your people doing what you’re paying them to do. Instead of fiddling with a malfunctioning printer or some software issue for an hour or more “hoping” that something will start working as they stab in the dark trying to fix it.
Expertise – At UTS the support technicians you work with can be considered an expert in the software they are supporting due to hours and training involved. Most technical support service companies require their support techs to have technical certifications or extensive experience with the product they are supporting. They are in the field, working with hardware, software and technical issues all day every day. This expertise provides you more insightful tidbits of knowledge and quicker resolution times.
Peace of mind – One of the best values provided by a technical support service is the peace of mind. Should all your systems fail, or even just one computer, it’s no matter, You don’t need to worry because UTS can find and fix your issues. Peace of mind is a service we don’t list on our Website, and probably should because it’s one of the most important services we provide at Unified Technology Solutions.
Our last two posts were about Phishing, and you are probably wondering where we are heading with all of this phishy stuff.
Phishing is how hackers figure out where you are vulnerable. They can ask you for information you should never give them. They can also attach files which will not ask you for any information. They will, however, take information from you, and leave you a “gift”.
Not a gift you would ever want, however. This gift will be a set of instructions which can clean off your data, it can hold your computer hostage. Sometimes it can piggy back on to the data you send out to others and install it on their systems as well.
We talked about a few things you can do to protect your systems from Phishing, now let’s go further and discuss what can be done to prevent Malware from getting installed on your system. Or, if the installation has already occurred, how to remove it from your system.
From Security In A Box”
“You can sometimes clear up a malware infection just by running your anti-malware software and letting it take care of the problem. On the other hand, some malware is designed to survive a full re-installation of the operating system. Most infections falls somewhere in the middle. In order from least to most effort (and, unfortunately, from least to most effective), the following are a few options:
Do a full scan with your existing anti-malware tool.
If the suspect device is a computer, restart it from an anti-malware rescue disk (such as Windows Defender Offline or the AVG RescueCD) and then discard the USB memory stick you used to create the rescue disk.
If you have a way to restore your device to its “factory settings,” backup your important files and do so. Do not backup any software. Be careful with the storage device you used for backup. Make sure it is clean before plugging it into your restored device.
If the suspect device is a computer, you can reinstall the operating system after backing up your important data. Once again, make sure your backup disk is clean before plugging it into the device on which you reinstalled the operating system. If you use a USB stick to reinstall the operating system, consider discarding it.”
Better still, if you are part of a network, the moment you suspect something is wrong, unplug your computer or laptop from that network. Take it OFF LINE immediately and do not access any websites which would require you to type in a user name or password. Then call us.