Managed IT Services, are they for you? Well, it depends. If your company stores customers’ data, if you accept credit cards for payment, if you have more than just a couple of employees, we would say yes.
While most computers look pretty much the same as they have for the past 20 years or so, the internals are changing and getting faster. You can thank the competive nature of the two biggest chip manufacturers for that.
AMD and Intel have been in competition for years. While AMD is known for cheap and realtively reliable chips to power laptops and desktops, Intel has always been the industry leader for the more expensive machines with higher processing power.
Digital Trends magazine recently published a post that goes into great technical detail as to why AMD pulled ahead in the race to see who has the fastest, most efficient line of Servers. The bottom line is it looks like AMD is keeping the pressure on Intel, and despite that, it seems to me that Intel still has the advantage in the higher-end products. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. This is a small excerpt from November 27, 2019, Digital Trends Website:
With cost serving as a major factor in building, upgrading, or purchasing a PC, choosing the right CPU often comes down to finding the one that offers the best bang for your buck.
In the past, AMD CPUs offered lower prices paired with lower performance. That’s not the case with its latest generation of CPUs. While AMD still represents great value for money, it does have several costly options which are even more powerful than the Intel alternative in some cases.
At the very low-end of the scale, AMD and Intel chips cost between $40 and $60 for a couple of cores and energy-efficient clock speeds. At the top of the scale, however, both camps have amazingly capable $500 chips.
For the red team, AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X is the current king with 16 cores and 32 threads. It pierces that $500 range with a suggested price of $749.
Meanwhile, Intel’s current top gamer chip, the 9900K, comes with eight cores and 16 threads. It’s clocked a little higher with a 5GHz single-core boost versus AMD’s 3950X at 4.7GHz. It is priced at $472. For middle-ground options, our recommended Intel chips include the Core i5-9400F for $145 and the Core i7-9700K for $359.
The laptop market is a different story. Most of what you’ll find are based on Intel processors of various generations and integrated graphics. As a Dell representative pointed out last year, Intel’s portfolio is simply huge compared to AMD: The gap between the two companies is substantial in terms of market share and “use cases.”
AMD is set to have its hardware at the heart of many laptops by the end of 2019, however. It’s already included in a few new offerings, like the new Acer Swift 3 or the 15-inch Surface Laptop 3. Progress on the mobile front will continue into 2020, though there’s a long road ahead.
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
For now, however, the market is mostly dominated by Intel. You can pick from a wide range of configurations, including 8th, 9th, and 10th-gen CPUs. The latest range sports Intel Ice Lake 10th-generation processors with 11th-generation onboard graphics. They represent some of the most capable and efficient laptops available, like the new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. As an alternative to Ice Lake, Intel also offers 10th-gen Comet Lake processors, which include a special six-core Core i7.
Typically if you’re looking for good, all-round power in a laptop, Intel Core i5 processors from one of the recent generations are a great bet. Core i7 and Core i9 CPUs offer much more general computing performance, but unless you’re performing some heavy workloads, a Core i5 is going to be more than enough in most cases.”
Overall, both companies produce processors within striking distance of one another on nearly every front — price, power, and performance. Intel chips tend to offer better performance per core, but AMD compensates with more cores at a given price and better onboard graphics. Until Ryzen 4000 mobile chips land in 2020, Intel has a serious lead in this category
Mid-range Ryzen processors are well worth considering too. The Ryzen 3600 and 3600X offer incredible value while being very capable gaming chips. Even at the very low end, AMD’s Ryzen with Vega APUs offer decent gaming performance that’s worth considering. But their weaker processing capabilities mean they aren’t the best value long term unless you plan to upgrade down the line.
Unless you’re trying to play at very high frame rates or are locked to lower resolutions, like 1080p, the CPU is rarely the limiting factor in games. Springing for a more powerful graphics card will usually yield better results than shelling out cash for a more powerful processor.
And don’t forget that syncing technology like FreeSync and G-Sync can also make a big difference in gaming appearance, with or without optimizing your processor.
In some cases, you can opt for the best of both worlds. Intel and AMD recently partnered to create combination chips with Intel CPU cores and AMD GPU cores on the same die with the likes of the Core i7-8809G. In our testing of the 8809G-equipped “Hades Canyon” NUC, we found it to be a solid gaming machine, so it could be that this partnership leads to much greater hardware options in the future.”
What does this mean for business owners? It means that these two chip manufacturers are competing for who can make the fastest, most reliable products and while we as end-users probably don’t give a big whoop about who actually wins, the competition of these two companies and the quality and speed of the processors and servers will ultimately benefit you. The Faster the processing speed, the more data you can move in a shorter period of time. The better access you will have to data which will ultimately improve your business and so on and so forth.
It’s all too easy to fall into a comfortable rut. Repeating a routine that has worked well for us or our company in the past, not wanting to reach too far outside of our comfort zones, and just moving along with the tide. But is that a good way to move your business forward? Some say, “NO”
Forbes magazine published a post on the Five Most Important Skills for managers to develop back in February of this year. Not one of those skills on the list was the ability to stay the same year after year. Instead, what the writer valued as the skills a good manager should have were:
The ability to learn
Value your staff
The Willingness to empower”
You can read the entire piece at this link Forbes . For purposes of this post, however, I would like to talk about the first point in the post, Curiosity.
It seems an odd term to equate with a successful business, but it’s really not. If you aren’t curious about how your competitors and fellow business owners are running their operations, or about new methodologies or technologies which could make your services or products better than they were this year, then you will be falling behind the curve.
Here is what she had to say:” This means becoming more agile and more open to new experiences, as well as being more aware of which technologies could work best for their organizations and more open to implementing those technologies. Being curious allows managers to better listen to their colleagues and workers and to take on board new ideas that could benefit their organization, argues Vanderheyden. It enables managers to consider new solutions to any obstacles that they might encounter, allowing them to react quicker and more effectively.”
At Unified Technology Solutions, we are constantly educating ourselves in order to offer the people we work with the very best solutions for their technology needs. We are curious by nature and we think it’s because of our willingness to look at things and puzzle out how they work that we are so good at what we do.
What are you curious about going into the end of this decade and coming up on a new one? Better yet, what SHOULD you be curious about?
Yes, it is convenient to have the ability to access WiFi in public places. But is it smart? The answer is no.
It is not even a good idea to plug your smartphone or tablet into public charging stations.
Why? Because people who steal data, personal information and plant software on your very personal devices will have access to your information. Not only that. If you are a lover of smart devices, they can have access to every device in your home that is currently set up to respond to commands from your smartphone, computer or tablet.
Almost every smartphone has the ability to become a mobile hot spot, so if you really need to use WiFi outside your home, then please, call up your hotspot and log into your own WiFi network.
It is also very important you check your settings on your smart devices and make certain to disable the option to automatically connect to any available WiFi network.
Many of us will be travelling to visit friends and family in the coming months. Yes, it’s nice to be able to spend our time watching a movie, reading a book or listening to music. But a better way to do that is to prepare ahead of time and download your books, music, and movies onto your tablet before you go. And perhaps, if you have the option, kick up your data plan for the months you plan to travel. It’s also a good idea to bring your own portable charging device.
Please, in addition to not using public WiFi, install a robust antivirus program on your phones and tablets. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Stolen data can affect your life for years. Your credit can be ruined, private communications could be shared and even your home can be compromised. This is serious, don’t take it lightly.
If you think we are being alarmists, take a look at this excerpt from a post on TripWire.com:
“……WIFI HACKS FLY UNDER THE RADAR
While theft of data from unsuspecting consumers using public WiFi spots is presumed to be fairly pervasive, it doesn’t get the attention that major hacks of corporate or financial systems do. These thefts happen in dribbles – with bad guys stealing bits of information from many users and accounts – rather than a tsunami.
One contributing factor is that WiFi is so pervasive. A 2015 report by WiFi network provider iPass estimated that there were more than 50 million public hotspots worldwide – one for every 150 people, a number which is expected to grow to 340 million by 2018, or one for every 20 people on earth.
We hear a lot of you are complaining about managing your inbox, so we wanted to share some very simple strategies to help you manage the onslaught in your inbox. Whether you get 5 or 1000 emails a day, they add up and they add up fast. What’s more, is that email management seems to take on a life of its own. We spend hours every day “checking email”. It’s a huge time sucking hole from which there is no escape at times. What happens with email is that everyone else’s demands, requests and even simple “hello’s” become equally important and take precedence over the things that you really want or need to do.
So how can you manage it? Here are 5 strategies for you to try. By the way, these are the same strategies that I use and that I recommend to my clients.
I realize that I am taking a risk by giving you this strategy because I’d rather you don’t unsubscribe from our emails, however, if you are looking at an inbox full of newsletters and other “self help” information that you have subscribed to over the years but never read, pick your favorite few and unsubscribe from the rest. Keeping hundreds of self help emails in your inbox is not going to make you read them or follow the advice. By keeping them the only thing that you are helping yourself to do is get further overwhelmed.
Unclick the box. Almost all online vendors pre-fill a little checkbox which gives them permission to send you emails and offers. Unclick the box! I realize that this may mean that you won’t get information about the upcoming 10% off sale but let’s face it; if you needed something and went online to find it you’re likely to find the 10% off sale anyway. Oh, if for some reason the box isn’t filled in already…do not click on it!
You might be able to guess this one but just in case…as you get offers from vendors that you’ve done business with already, unsubscribe from their list. You already know that vendor and when you need something from them you will go online to find it.
Keep separate email accounts. One account that you will stay current with for friends, family, work and those topics which are most important to you and another for bulk mail, online shopping needs, and those sign up sheets that you end up filling out.
Use the delete key. You do not need to act on or respond to every single email you receive. Choose to respond to the ones that are most important to you and let go of the rest. You can even delete those “older ones” that you haven’t gotten around to answering yet because the sender probably doesn’t remember they sent it or else they just assume that it’s been lost in your inbox. If it’s that important they will contact you again.
If you want to receive less email, send less email. As ridiculously simple as it sounds for such a pervasive problem, I’ve found this to be the golden rule of email management: Send less of it. I stopped sending emails and instead use Skype for fast questions.
Email not only clutters up your inbox, depending upon the way your system is set up, but it can also be affecting the performance of the entire company. Or it can be eating up cloud storage unnecessarily. So, just like with your closet, perhaps the Mari method of inbox cleaning will work. Keep only those emails which spark joy, or cover yourself, you choose.
What strategies are you using to improve your productivity? Let us know in the comments.
You reach the last page of a novel and it’s the end. There is no more. Yet, with Microsoft software, even though the end of new releases of all components of Windows 7 & * happened a few years ago, there are still those of you, you know who you are, who are stubbornly clinging to these outdated versions of Windows. If you got upset with the loss of new versions on Windows 7 & 8, wait until you hear this.
Support for Windows Server 2008 is over for good on January 14, 2020. When we first posted about this subject you were saying to yourself, I have a whole year to migrate over. But guess what? Half of that year is gone. Now you only have 6 short months. Why short months? Well, because we pretty soon we will be entering Holiday Season. There is 4th of July Holiday, summer vacations, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. Oh, and being a Veteran, I can never forget Veterans Day in November.
Here in Florida, we also have the threat of hurricanes heading our way, which will inevitably cause a few days of downtime at some point. The point is, there really aren’t all that many days left. Mike and I are urging all of our business owners in the Indian River County Area and beyond to give us a call. We will come in, look over your operation, and assess your current situation. We will check and see which applications you are currently running and work with you to make certain they will not be disrupted when you upgrade to Windows Server 10.
We will install the latest version of Windows 10 software, and we will work with you to make certain everything is up to date and on the most current level of software. AT UTS we can also work with your other software vendors to install any updates you would need. Please don’t wait until Christmas Eve, 2019 to give us a call.
Windows Support Ends for Windows 7 & 8, in fact, it actually ended a while ago.
What does that mean to you? If you simply can not bear to learn Windows 10, I am here to tell you, in the most gentle way possible, that it’s time to get over it.
Windows 10 can be made to look more like Windows 7 or 8, and if you are like most end users, the software is not a radical change from previous Windows versions.
What it has changed is the level of protection it offers from the slew of new viruses and malware that crop up out in the world. If you don’t update your software and your servers with the latest version of operating systems, you are asking for trouble, plain and simple. We understand that man of the features other than virus and malware protection, are not ones you might be using if you aren’t working on a tablet or a touch screen computer. But all the same, you need to make the change.
If you think we are being alarmists, you have decided to take your chances and not upgrade to Windows 10, just take a look at what the Microsoft support page has to say:
“An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update. These updates include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal your personal information. Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows—such as new drivers for your hardware.
” Will I still be able to use Windows after support ends?
Yes. If you continue to use an unsupported version of Windows, your PC will still work, but it will become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Your PC will continue to start and run, but you will no longer receive software updates, including security updates, from Microsoft.
Who cares about my little business? No one would bother to hack my system. I don’t have anything important enough for them to bother.
These are some of the things I here from small business owners, and they are just plain wrong. Cyber thieves and stalkers don’t necessarily care about how valuable your data is. They love it when a site is easy to hack. The data itself might not even be what they are looking for. It could be they are looking to network systems from all over the world in order to give themselves free computing power.
With several data breaches over the last few years, small businesses are still being targeted by cyberattacks. According to a poll from Insureon and Manta, only 16 percent of small business owners think they are susceptible to a cyberattack. Yet, 61 percent of attacks occur at smaller businesses.
2019 could see the beginning of a cybersecurity movement among SMBs. Jim Lippie, general manager of cloud computing for software company Kaseya, said small businesses will start viewing security through the lens of an enterprise business.
“They will finally take security measures to heart,” he said. “SMBs, like their large enterprise counterparts, will lock down on a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery solution to keep protected, and also form new standardized blocking and tackling game plans to keep the business even more safe.”
Many small businesses have been targeted in the past, so 2019 could be the first year where SMBs start fighting back.”
At UTS, we can make certain you are up to date on the software which can protect your data. Just give us a call and let us show you how we can help YOUR company fight back against cyber thieves.
It’s that time. In a few weeks 2018 will end and 2019 begins. Things are changing and if you don’t keep up you will fall behind. It’s time to make certain that all of your valuable data from 2018 is backed up and secure. It is also time to think ahead if you havent begun to already.
Technology as we knew it even 10 years ago is evolving much differently than any of us would have imagined. Our smart phones have more computing power than many of the devices we owned when we were younger.