Windows 10 – Best Windows Ever?

The new Windows 10 operating system is purported to be the best Windows ever. The combination of ease of use for new users, automatic updates, and built in security features is causing small to medium sized businesses to breathe a sigh of relief as business owners dream about spending less time and money on training and more energy on making money – finally. Windows 10 is Easy to Use The new OS combines the interface of Windows 8 with the Start menu of Windows 7. This is a godsend for small business, because it means not having to train employees to complete mundane tasks, such as syncing a Bluetooth device. Such options are readily available on the Start menu now. The Windows 10 Start menu is designed to be easy for new users. Check out some of the things users can now do right from the Start menu: Find settings Reboot Launch applications and place apps into the program list Find documents Adjust desktop resolution In addition, the new OS is designed for all platforms, especially smartphones. When using Windows 10 on your smartphone, it will only display the finger-control interface. All in all, Windows 10 is great for SMBs who want to avoid high training costs. Automatic Updates! Microsoft experienced the pain first-hand of customers complaining about having to upgrade from Windows XP and later from Windows 7 to 8. Microsoft Vice President for Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, explained that the company never wants to be in the position of having to convince people to buy the next version of Windows again. The plans for Windows 10 include...

The Most Recent Data Breaches and Their Consequences

Big data breaches have been making headlines more and more frequently. It was announced last week that the computer systems at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management had been breached. This is the second computer break-in in the past year for the agency. An estimated four million current and former federal employee records may have been compromised. Guidance Software, a cybersecurity firm, used Einstein, an intrusion detection system, to trace the breach back to a machine under the control of Chinese intelligence. Is Your Network Protected? The hard truth about data breaches is that no one is safe: An individual, a small business, a Fortune 500 company, and government agencies can all be infiltrated. Costs from data breaches have grown tremendously in recent years. On average, a data breach will cost a large company about $640,000 to cover the cost of business disruption, information loss, and detection. It takes the average company about a month to recover. If you own a small to medium sized company, it’s doubly wise to be prepared. Small organizations can expect a higher per-capita cost than large organizations. So, what can your organization do to be better prepared for a possible data breach? Why Invest in Stronger Security Measures United States senators have added $200 million in funding to their proposed fiscal 2016 budget to fund a detailed study of the cyber vulnerabilities of major weapons systems. Smaller organizations would be wise to follow these footsteps and make data security a priority going forward. The biggest goal for SMBs when it comes to data security is education over technical improvement. Security education must be...

Moving to the Cloud: The Advantages

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), total public IT Cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) spending will reach $127 billion in 2018. Compared to the 4.1% compound annual growth rate the IT market will experience from 2013-2018, the public Cloud will grow at a 22.8% compound annual growth rate. That’s five and a half times more than the total IT market spending! The Cloud is unquestionably the most significant trend ever to hit the IT industry. Understanding these figures warrants a thorough review of the advantages associated with moving your organization to the Cloud. Cost Savings The prime advantage of Cloud computing is the ability to pay for what’s being used instead of being compelled to pay for unused services. It’s just smart business sense to cut out unnecessary spending. Large Cloud providers are able to offer more computing power at a lower cost, as they benefit from huge economies from scale. Just make sure Cloud services are not over-provisioned, and only use what you need. Advantages of Both Public and Private Models Organizations have a lot of options when it comes to Cloud models, but most people are confused about the difference between the public and private model. Public Cloud services are designed for a market and not a single enterprise. It is open to all potential users and is shared among unrelated consumers, while private Cloud services are shared within an enterprise but have restrictions on access. These Cloud services can be either onsite or offsite and can be managed by either a third party or in-house staff. There are advantages to both models. The public...

Protect Your Organization from Ransomware

It’s a moment every business owner dreads. A message appears on your organization’s computer screen alerting you that your files have been encrypted and the only way to access them is by paying a ransom. Security threats to computers and mobile phones have grown more sophisticated around the globe in the past few years. The United States in particular saw an increase in “ransomware.” What is Ransomware? Cypersecurity experts report that ransomware is one of the fastest growing forms of hacking, and the scary part is that no one is safe. An individual, a small business, a Fortune 500 company, and government agencies can all be infiltrated. It also attacks smartphones. Ransomware is malicious software that hackers use to extort money from individuals or businesses by preventing them from opening their documents, pictures, and other files unless they pay a ransom, usually in the amount of several hundred dollars. How Ransomware Works Similar to other hackers’ schemes, ransomware can arrive in emails or attachments with links that, when clicked, encrypt your files. Attacks can also occur during a visit to a website, as cybercriminals can attach computer code to even the most well known websites. It could happen during something as harmless as updating an application or downloading an app on your smartphone. Protect Your Organization Cybercriminals are starting to target small businesses more and more, because generally speaking, they are more vulnerable. While big companies have backups and separate computers for their different departments, small to medium sized businesses lack technology teams, sophisticated software, and secure backup systems to protect from ransomware. One of the best investments your...

The Cloud: The 3rd Platform of Computing

Around 2008, the IT industry started to experience a massive shift in traditional computing. The International Data Corporation (IDC) began referring to this change as the “3rd platform.” The 3rd platform is built on the four technology pillars for innovation and growth: Cloud, mobile, big data, and social technologies. Within this new era of technology, the Cloud is surely the biggest game changer, because it changes the way companies consume and pay for access to technology. Businesses large and small can now solve problems with the Cloud that were unsolvable before. Cloud technologies have become ubiquitous in business; this is why it is critical to understand what the Cloud is and comprehend its future growth. Models for Cloud Services: Public and Private Many people are confused about the difference between public and private Cloud models and what the best option is for their organization. Public Cloud services are designed for a market and not a single enterprise. It is open to all potential users and is shared among unrelated consumers. On the other hand, private Cloud services are shared within an enterprise but have restrictions on access. These Cloud services can be either onsite or offsite and can be managed by either a third party or in-house staff. Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) These three main Cloud solutions can leverage your IT business substantially. SaaS provides a way to deliver software and technical services that would otherwise be managed on premise. Most small businesses can adopt Cloud computing into their company using only SaaS services for email, sales...

Beware of Cryptolocker

Imagine you are on your personal or work computer, and you receive a seemingly innocuous email from a trusted source, such as your bank, your tax office, or even a friend. The source asks you to download a file to update important account information. But, when you click on it, your most important files become encrypted and you are threatened you will lose them unless you pay a sizable sum to get them back! This real threat is called cryptolocker. What is Cryptolocker? Simply, cryptolocker is malware that encrypts documents and asks for money to unencrypt them. It affects both personal data and company data stored on corporate files. If you’re tricked into downloading the infected file, the virus will target your most important applications and operating systems. Cryptolocker can bypass virus scanners and other security measures to infect your computer, so it’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs. Typical Warning Signs Beware of the following suspicious emails: Senders you do not recognize or known senders with unexpected content No recipient listed in the “To” line of the email Links in the email that do not match the title when you scroll your mouse over it “Zip” files you are not expecting How to Protect Yourself and Your Company The following tips will help keep your personal and company data free from cryptolocker: Delete suspicious emails right away and empty your trash bin Keep antivirus and anti-malware definitions up to data If you do get infected, remove the machine from the network to protect your organization from further damage Train your employees regularly on IT security...
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