Business IT Support

IT Support Blog

News and info on IT Services

We provide a range of Managed IT Services, Business IT Support, and IT Consulting that can help you keep costs down.

We know its hard to make sense of all the options available when it comes to IT. We can keep you posted on the latest trends and info with our IT Support Blog.


 

 

Are You Prepared for Daylight Savings Time?

Posted by on 8:22 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Daylight Savings TimeDaylight Savings Time will end this year on Sunday, November 2, 2014. Aside from the extra hour of sleep and the morning commute in darkness little will change for the business world. Almost all technological devices – from the smartphone whose alarm you depend on to your workstation computer, should automatically update its internal clock to account for the change.

However, there are a few noteworthy exceptions to this rule that all your tech will automatically update.

  1. Most devices without an internet connection will require a manual update. This includes your microwave, stove, and any analog clocks.
  2. Windows computers require Windows Update to be enabled in order to automatically adjust their clock. Some users have turned off the Windows Update function for security reasons or have had them turned off by an administrator. Be aware that these computers may require a manual update from Daylight Savings Time.
  3. Some old iPhones and iPads likewise will need Location Services enabled to automatically update. These settings are often disabled to improve battery life. However if you’re running iOS 5 or later (iOS 8.1 is the most current version) then your iDevice will be able to update itself independent of Location Services.
  4. Some Linux servers require a manual update.

Almost every other internet enabled device should automatically update to account for Daylight Savings Time.

Have questions about how your technology will update for Daylight Savings Time? Drop us an email or give us a phone call.

 

Urgent Notice – Must Read Virus Warning: Cryptowall is on the Rise

Posted by on 6:53 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

CryptowallYour Anti-Virus Software & Firewalls WON’T Protect Your Machines Against this Dangerous Type of Ransomware!

Ransomware has quickly become a huge threat to businesses of all types and sizes. Not sure what ransomware is all about? Allow us to explain: ransomware is a form of malware that infects machines, then encrypts all of the files on the machine; and unless the victim pays a hefty ransom fee, the files remain encrypted, and as a result, unusable and inaccessible forever.

Warning: Cryptowall 2.0 is Striking Businesses Left and Right – Don’t Become the Next Victim!

Cryptowall 2.0, a very dangerous and worrisome ransomware, has been striking businesses left and right. In fact, a law firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL was recently infected and left down for weeks before they were able to remove the virus from their system.

So how does the ransomware infect machines? Well, cybercriminals send an email that contains a zip or PDF file, which is disguised as an invoice, purchase order, bill, complaint, or other business issue. Once the victim double-clicks on the fake zip or PDF file, the ransomware is downloaded and installed on the machine.

After the ransomware is installed, it scans the machine for data and encrypts the data using RSA encryption; then a notepad window opens to display instructions on how to pay the ransom fee and access the decryption service. Unfortunately, the ransom fee starts at $500 USD, and after 7 days, the ransom fee goes up to $1,000 USD.

What Can YOU Do to Protect Yourself? Follow This Simple Rule: NEVER Open Attachments from an Unknown or Unverified Sender!

What can you do to protect yourself? That’s simple: do not open any zip or PDF files without verifying the sender. If you do receive a suspicious message, simply call the sender and verify prior to opening the attachment. Keep in mind, the ransomware is designed to bypass firewalls, anti-virus software, and anti-malware software.

In addition, there’s no known way to block the ransomware. Ultimately, it all comes down to data backup – make sure your data is backed up and recoverable, in order to guarantee accessibility in the event of an infection. Otherwise, you’re left paying a hefty ransom fee and losing valuable time; as the recovery steps are extremely time-consuming.

To learn more about this dangerous type of ransomware, or to discuss data backup options to keep you prepared, give us a call or send us an email. We are the preferred IT support company for businesses.

Ready to Expand Your Business?

Posted by on 6:35 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

business telephonesTake the Opportunity to Upgrade Outdated Phone Systems & Antiquated Technologies for Improved Efficiency at the New Office!

When you’re relocating to a new office, it’s always a time-consuming and stressful experience. Whether you’re a large enterprise or small to mid-size business, it’s all about the time and detail that’s put into planning. Fortunately, office relocation opens the doors to new opportunities, such as upgrading outdated phone systems and antiquated technologies!

Your team of business IT experts are here to help you simplify the process of moving & make the most of your relocation! To learn more, or to schedule a no-obligation relocation assessment, give us a call or send us an email.

As your planning to relocate your office, you’re probably starting to feel a bit nervous about disruption and downtime. Fortunately, there’s no need to worry! Our team of IT experts has a few simple tips to help you ensure a smooth process:

  1. Start planning 6 months ahead of time: Break the relocation process down into phases and place them on a detailed timeline 6 months ahead of time.
  2. Develop comprehensive checklists: Once you’ve identified phases, develop comprehensive checklists showing what should be tracked and confirmed.
  3. Have a game plan ready 90 days prior to the move: 90 days prior to the move, make sure you’ve completed every task necessary from the checklists.
  4. Contact our team of IT experts: Your information systems must be up and running to keeping processes smooth as soon as you’re relocated in the new office.

When you’re following these tips, you’re able to go through the relocation process with minimal stress and hassle. Plus, once you’ve contacted our team of Information Systems experts prior to moving, we can help you take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade your outdated phone systems and antiquated technologies for improved efficiency at the new office! Essentially, our team of IT experts will help you:

  • Determine technology requirements for the new office: We’ll assess what type of technical and connectivity requirements are involved with the new office space, including physical space needs for technology resources.
  • Assess existing technology solutions in place: We’ll assess existing technology solutions in place, then assess future growth plans and goals, in order to identify what technologies are outdated and should be replaced to improve efficiency.
  • Make sure there’s an Internet connection: We’ll work with your existing Internet service provider to move your circuit and/or provide various options for a new voice/Internet carrier to ensure a reliable and quick connection.
  • Create a strategic IT plan: We’ll create a strategic IT plan outlining what solutions and/or equipment will be upgraded or replaced to ensure you’re making the most of your office relocation while meeting the goals and future growth plans we’ve discussed.

Ready to start planning for an upcoming office relocation? Give us a call or send us an email. 

Important Warning: Shellshock Strikes Yahoo Servers – Potentially Putting 800 Million Users’ Data at Risk!

Posted by on 8:46 pm in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Yahoo ShellshockIn the past few weeks, you’ve probably heard some pretty scary news about Shellshock, the vulnerability that impacts “bash” software. According to some security researchers, Shellshock could potentially be more dangerous than Heartbleed, the open/SSL bug that posed a huge threat to businesses a few months ago!

So how does the vulnerability work? That’s simple: the vulnerability allows hackers to infect their own malicious code into bash. Once the hacker injects malicious code, they’re able to:

  • Access and steal sensitive information.
  • Install malware onto users computers.
  • Control the servers remotely.

According to Jonathan Hall, Cyber Security Researcher, Yahoo is one of the first major companies to experience an attack via the vulnerability since the security bug’s disclosure on September 24th, 2014.

Do You Spend Time on Yahoo Games? Keep An Eye Out for Signs of Data Theft or Malware Infections – The Yahoo Games Servers Were Hacked!

On Hall’s website, he claims Romanian hackers have managed to use the Shellshock bug to infiltrate Yahoo servers! He says three servers have been breached, including Yahoo Games, one of the largest free online game collections available on the Internet.

So what does this mean for everyone who visits Yahoo Games on a daily basis? Well, if you’re playing games on the website, hackers could’ve easily installed malware on your computer, or worse, stolen your private information.

When Hall notified Yahoo, Elisa Shyu, a spokeswoman, responded, “As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began patching our systems and have been closely monitoring our network. We isolated a handful of our impacted servers, and at this time, we have no evidence of a compromise to user data.”

While Shyu’s comment is reassuring, it’s always better safe than sorry! We recommend following a few simple tips to mitigate the risks of an attack:

  1. Install and run anti-virus software: If you’re not running anti-virus software on a regular basis, it’s a good time to start. Install and run anti-virus software and make sure it’s always up-to-date.
  2. Change your passwords: Make sure you’ve changed all of your account passwords. Also keep in mind; your passwords should be a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers.
  3. Install a reliable firewall: A reliable firewall should be installed and configured properly to protect against malicious and dangerous incoming traffic.

Feeling concerned about the attack? To learn more, give us a call or send us an email. We are happy to help you stay up to date on the latest security threats!

Guess What? The Newest Version Of Windows Is Just Around The Corner!

Posted by on 11:15 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Windows 10Windows 10.

Yes, you heard that right. Windows 10! Are you thinking the same thing we’re thinking? “What happened to Windows 9? Wait, Windows 8 just came out not that long ago…”

No worries: we are several months, if not a couple of years away from Windows 10 becoming something you need to be thinking about with your new technology purchases. Don’t panic yet.

Microsoft revealed their new Windows 10 operating system this past week and made it available for technology companies to test and offer feedback. The “technical preview” gives companies like ours the opportunity to get under the hood with the new Windows and learn what is coming next, so we can start getting prepared for our future AND yours.

Why is it important for us to be prepared with Windows 10?

Simple: unlike a number of our friendly competitors in the region, we believe that having early knowledge of the upcoming technologies makes sure YOU and your company can make informed decisions about future investments in technology and maximize the current IT investments you have made.

Windows 8 has been criticized heavily in the business world, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you too have grumbled over it. Its somewhat, shall we say, “unfriendly” desktop has been a difficult transition for many business professionals to make. Microsoft promises this will change with Windows 10. Let’s sum it up this way: the business world didn’t take to Windows 8 and many of our clients simply loved Windows 7. Apparently, Microsoft was listening.

Not to worry, you won’t be forced through another learning curve.

How will your business benefit from Windows 10?

  • Expanded Start Menu: Yahoo! The start menu is back! One click access to all your programs and files. How we missed you, start menu. Never leave again. The start menu will also include space for your favorite applications, programs, people, and websites.
  • Windows Store Apps: In the past, applications purchased from the Windows Store didn’t behave as nicely as regular applications. This is all changing. Applications purchased from the Windows Store will now have the same format as other applications. You can move them and resize them. Maybe that will make it more worthwhile to actually think about buying an app from the Windows Store. We’ll see.
  • It is a Snap: Microsoft has put significant effort into improving Snap with Windows 10. Working with multiple applications at the same time is now easier. There is a new quadrant layout that allows for up to four applications to be snapped into the same screen. Pretty cool stuff, especially for crazy multi-taskers like us.
  • See All Your Tasks at Once: There is a new Task view button on the task bar that allows you to view all open applications and files. This allows for quick switching and one-touch access to any program or any desktop.
  • Multiple Desktops: For you extreme multi-taskers, you now have multiple desktops. You can create distinct desktops to work on different projects or purposes, such as work or personal.

Will Windows 10 be ideal for your business? Only time will tell.

Right now, you don’t have to do anything. As your trusted Microsoft partner, we will keep our finger on the pulse with all the Windows 10 happenings, and at a future date, we will sit down with you and discuss how Windows 10 will work best in your business.

Have questions about Microsoft technologies? Call our team of Microsoft experts right away. We are here to help make sure your business has the right business IT support you need. Why settle for an IT company who just fixes things and leaves? You can experience a technology company who will help you prepare for the future while ensuring everything today works flawlessly.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Is Your Internet Browser Going BERserk?

Posted by on 11:20 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

BerserkAre you using Chrome or Firefox to browse the Internet? If so, IMMEDIATELY make sure you’ve got the latest updates for these Internet browsers.

Why?

A very dangerous security flaw has been identified that lets hackers and malware skip over the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) of Google Chrome and Firefox. SSL is widely used security protocol designed to protect your privacy and ensure the integrity of information sent between your computer and the server you are on.

Remember Heartbleed? That little bug also let hackers skip over SSL.

BERserk is the latest security vulnerability designed to wreak havoc with computer users. BERserk was discovered by Intel’s Advanced Threat Research team and a security expert in France.

BERsek is very dangerous and it is present in all previous versions of Firefox and Google Chrome. The good news is that there is no evidence that it has been exploited for malware attacks, yet! It is a very easy problem to fix, and we stress the importance of ensuring your browser is up-to-date with the latest version. For some, you may have already fixed it without knowing it.

How do you check if your browser is up-to-date?

If you are running Google Chrome version 37.0.2062.124 or Firefox version 32.0.3, you are safe and you don’t need to do anything else. However, if you are not running these versions, follow these easy steps:

  • Firefox: Click on the three horizontal lines in the top right to access the menu. Click on the question mark at the bottom of the pop-up menu. Click “About Firefox,” and you will see your version. If your Firefox is out of date, just accessing this window will automatically kick off the update process.
  • Google Chrome: Click on the three horizontal lines in the top right of the browser. If your browser is out-of-date, these horizontal lines may be orange or red. If they are these colors, you will see a line that says “Update Google Chrome.” Click it! It’s just that easy.

Computer and network security are vital in today’s world. You need to have an IT company that understands the pending risk to any business, large or small. This is why security is the cornerstone of our managed IT services offerings. If your IT company in {city} isn’t talking to you about the importance of having a secure and locked down computer network, it is time to get a new IT company.

We invite you to try us out. Call our IT security team today and book your complimentary information technology security consultation with our experts. We will sit down with you and discuss the vital components that keep your business safe and secured. In addition, we will also show you ways you can properly back up all your information onsite and in the cloud, just in case.

Call us or send us an email today, and see how your business can be safer than ever before.

88% of Malware Targets Mobile Devices – Don’t Let Mobile Devices Pose a Threat to Your Corporate Network!

Posted by on 11:55 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

mobile computingWhile mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are becoming more popular than ever before in the workplace; is it safe to have mobile devices connecting to the corporate network? As employees continue to utilize personally owned smartphones and tablets to access business resources, it’s fundamental to consider the potential security risks associated with mobile devices accessing the corporate network.

Should you be worried about your employees using personal mobile devices to access the corporate network? The short answer: absolutely! As BYOD continues to evolve, cybercriminals are responding with more creative, sophisticated ways to exploit the trend.

How do cybercriminals exploit the trend? That’s simple, they create mobile device specific threats, which infect your employees’ mobile devices, then when they’ve connected to the corporate network, the infection transfers! So what happens when malware infects the corporate network? Here’s a few examples:

  • Workstations can become unstable: All of your employees’ workstations will quickly become unstable, possibly crashing or slowing down without any clear explanation.
  • Sensitive data can be stolen: When key logging malware infections occur, the keys pressed on your keyboards are recorded, then a log is sent to the hacker to search for sensitive data.
  • Costly business downtime can occur: Once a malware infection is on the network, it spreads to all of the workstations and often results in costly business downtime due to crashes and slow performance.

Of course, as you’re already aware, mobile devices are key business enablers, which means they’re able to increase productivity, and ultimately, improve your bottom line as a result of getting more done while enhancing communication and collaboration. So how can mobile devices be used without presenting such a threat to the corporate network?

Our Team Specializes in Isolating the Smartphone Network From the Corporate Network to Help You Maintain Productivity While Mitigating the Risks!

When you’re looking to utilize mobile devices in the workplace, our team of IT experts strongly recommends isolating the smartphone network from the corporate network, in order to help you maintain productivity while mitigating the risks. Fortunately, we specialize in creating two networks:

  1. A smartphone network: A smartphone or guest network can be created to allow smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to access the network in a secure manner.
  2. A corporate network: A corporate network can be created to allow authorized laptops and PCs to access the network for business purposes while ensuring the risk of malware is minimized.

This ensures mobile devices aren’t able to carry malware to the corporate network while allowing employees to stay productive and efficient without presenting threats to sensitive business data and uptime.

Interested in creating two separate networks? Give us a call or send us an email. We are the preferred IT support company for businesses.

Security Warning: Your Computer Systems May Be at Risk for Exploitation Due to the Dangerous “Bash” Vulnerability!

Posted by on 2:32 pm in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

BASHA major high severity vulnerability, CVE-2014-6271, has been spreading quickly and impacting a wide range of businesses! The vulnerability, also known as “bash,” involves a UNIX type command shell that’s included in most distributions of Apple OS X and Linux. So how does the vulnerability work? An attacker is able to exploit the vulnerability, then create environment variables that include malicious code.

The vulnerability is dangerous due to the ease of exploitation. What does ease of exploitation mean? Well, in the simplest terms, an attacker can:

  • Gain access to sensitive information.
  • Manipulate or steal business data.
  • Remotely execute code to disrupt operations.

In addition, the vulnerability presents a fairly unique risk to businesses. Why? There’s a lot of targets – from web servers to software that uses the bash interpreter, the vulnerability can be exploited at any moment. Over the past few days, researchers have been looking into the vulnerability to determine whether or not other interpreters, such as JSP, PHP, Perl, or Python, are affected as well.

Sometimes, an interpreter uses bash to execute specific functions, and as a result, other interpreters could also be used to exploit the vulnerability. Ultimately, the impact is high because a wide range of embedded devices, including routers, wireless access points, and home appliances, use CGI scripts.

We are working hard to learn more about this “Bash” bug and will post additional information on our blog when we learn more.

Feeling concerned about the vulnerability? To learn more, or to schedule a no-obligation security assessment, give us a call or send us an email. We are here to help you reduce the risk of an attack.

Microsoft Wants You To Be Safe! Do You Trust Them?

Posted by on 12:36 pm in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Virus MitigationComputer, IT, and Network Security is a constant battle between the software developers and the hackers out there looking for ways to manipulate or exploit the vulnerabilities in their products. Since technology continues to advance and evolve every year, the war between security and cybercrime will never end. Constant vigilance is the only way to be truly secure.

Microsoft is one company who wants to make their software solutions as secure as possible. Windows and Windows Server products have had a target on their backs for many years, and it seems to be a never-ending battle between right and wrong.

Have you heard of zero-day flaws?

A zero-day flaw is a vulnerability or lack of security in software that no one knows exists until either a hacker points them out or a company like Microsoft stumbles over them during a support issue or in their testing. Essentially, the flaw has been there since “day zero” – when the software was first introduced to the public.

A zero-day flaw can exist for months or even years before someone knows about it.

This is why security is such an important part of any information technology strategy. Part of our fully managed IT services program is to ensure our clients always have their system updates completed, so any recently discovered vulnerabilities can be immediately patched.

Third party security solutions can minimize the risks, but only to a point. Some zero-day flaws can even allow a hacker to bypass the most rigid security solutions out there.

Microsoft has a tool that can help your business reduce the risks of a zero-day flow impacting your business. Again, our clients under our technology management solution are already taken care of, but for you out there without our services, here is something you can try.

Microsoft, for years has elected convenience over security. Many of the security settings in Windows, Internet Explorer, and other applications you can change yourself. To help users make changes to these settings, Microsoft has come up with the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit. Click here to download.

EMET comes with many default settings designed to tweak common security settings for you. As long as you stick with these default settings, you should be OK. Microsoft issues an alert on any flaw identified and will include specific instructions on the settings you need to change for temporary safety.

Use the EMET with caution. This tool is really only designed for advanced users and IT support companies like us. If many of your Windows settings break or become unstable, uninstall the tool immediately.

WARNING: If you are running a business and you are concerned about your security, take a moment before using this tool and call your IT security experts first. We can help ensure not only that your settings are optimized for your security, but also remove any existing threats and offer the best third-party protection available. Contact us today. We’re here to help.

Save Your Business Frustration, Money, and Time With Information Technology Standards

Posted by on 12:47 pm in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

information technology standardsYou can buy any number of IT products for your business off the shelves of the major stores, and all of them are more than capable of providing the service you’re looking for. But you may end up purchasing technology that is unfamiliar to your IT support provider, which can lead to increased costs and downtime when IT problems arise.

That’s why our emphasizes the importance of IT standardization to our clients. We advise you on which of the standard products we’re familiar with will be the best fit for your business. It isn’t about marketing our products to you: it’s about ensuring that you’re getting the best of our expertise so you can reap the benefits. Call us or email us to learn more.

When your business takes advantage of the standardized IT solutions recommended by us, you’re ensuring that you’re using technology that we have tested and proved over our years of experience. While we are always able to help you with IT issues on a system you bought yourself, you run the risk of increased costs and downtime as we investigate the problems and create the solutions.

Meanwhile, there are a large number of benefits to using technology that is standard, including:

  • Ease of setup & installation – ensuring that you’re able to take advantage of your technology immediately and without fear of complication.
  • Effective & efficient maintenance – ensuring that any IT issues that may arise are quickly and easily dealt with thanks to our years of experience with the product.
  • Familiarity of product capabilities – letting us advise you on the best ways to use your technology so you get maximum value for your investment.
  • Documented experience – letting you take advantage of all the solutions we’ve applied for this product with our other clients, and knowing that those solutions work.
  • Increased security – we know the best ways to secure our standardized technology, so we can safeguard your business from cybercrime and disaster with confidence.
  • Vendor contacts – we can leverage our contacts at the companies that supply our standardized technology in order to expedite support, either for unique questions or for replacement of products.

When you use the standardized IT we recommend, you are able to take advantage of the vast collection of IT solutions we’ve developed with all the other clients we serve. When we fix one problem for a company, we’re able to pass along the benefit to everyone immediately. This lets our team of experts provide you with the best quality support possible while you save time and money.

Take advantage of our vast wealth of experience: use the standardized IT we recommend to save your business frustration, time, and money. Contact us today to learn more about the many services we offer businesses like your own, or to schedule a free no-obligation review of your IT.