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.


 

 

How Geolocation Data Collection Can be Useful to Businesses

Posted by on 11:10 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

GeolocationIn the age of rapid and constantly growing technology, geolocation is sneaking its way into just about every device and application we use. For some applications, it seems necessary, and for others the purpose is less clear, but consumers are accepting it anyways, because hell, why not?

When your location is tracked and recorded, it is typically meant to add value to the users experience. However, where does one cross the line between geolocation adding value and geolocation being intrusive?

In the retail industry, adding geolocation data to information on customers, can be beneficial in tailoring the marketing target according to customer preferences and locations.

Is Location Important or Intrusive?

For medium-sized businesses, an increased growth in customer engagement and improved business analytics is being seen through the embedding of geolocation data from mobile devices. Businesses with multiple locations may see the value in adding geolocation data, while smaller businesses with only one location may find the idea of embedding location data within mobile applications intrusive. In this sense, customers may not be able to see the value in providing geolocation information to a smaller-sized business.

So what are the benefits of Geolocation use beyond customers?

While geolocation benefits in the retail industry are clear to see in relation to marketing, mobile location data is not solely limited to customers. Geolocation can also aid in business asset locations and a mobile workforce. Geolocation can assist your business in being more efficient and functional by cutting down on resources, and speeding up processes through mobile assistance.

The information provided through geolocation information can be beneficial or intrusive. For businesses, it is easy to use this data as a beneficial asset in the company, assisting in marketing, efficiency, and functionality.

For more information on geolocation information and data collection, feel free to contact our team. You can reach us by phone or send us an email. Geolocation data is a powerful tool, and we will assist your business in making the most out of this information.

New Microsoft Products and Services Agreement Will Benefit Your Small to Medium Sized Business!

Posted by on 7:16 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Microsoft Services AgreementVolume licensing of software makes it easier and more affordable to run software on multiple computers within an organization. So it’s good news for Microsoft volume licensees. Microsoft recently announced that they are replacing its Select Plus agreement with the new Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA).

This replacement will happen gradually over the course of three years, but it is something to look forward to. Microsoft made changes based on customer and partner feedback. The benefits of the new MPSA include:

  1. Agreement size is only 8 pages
  2. Multiple account types are supported
  3. Single signing for all purchase types
  4. Combine on-premise software and Online Services purchases to get the best volume discount
  5. Multiple partners supported on purchasing accounts for transactional purposes

As of July 1st 2015, Select Plus will no longer be made available via new commercial customer agreements, and a year later on July 1st 2016, customers with existing Select Plus agreements will no longer be able to make new purchases after their agreement anniversary, with all future purchases moving to the MPSA. However, Microsoft officials say, “customers will continue to have full rights and access to all software and Software Assurance acquired under Select Plus.”

MPSA is currently available in 13 countries.

Microsoft is making significant changes across its Volume Licensing business. These changes include:

  • More flexibility and accessibility when purchasing
  • New tools to simplify asset management
  • Greater value from your Microsoft assets

The Microsoft Products and Services Agreement will give you more options and offers a single agreement. MPSA is recommended for companies purchasing multiple licenses for cloud services or software.

For more information on the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. Our team wants to ensure your business technologies are kept updated and efficient.

Many Cars to Adopt a Wireless Charging Unit in the Coming Year 

Posted by on 7:54 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Car Phone ChargersWireless charging in cars is quickly becoming a reality! There are already several car models that offer this feature, and many more to come next year. Although projections expect these wireless chargers to accelerate in the year 2015, there are three competing standards for different specifications that have become a barrier for many to adopt this new technology. These varying specifications include:

  • Powermat technology’s Power Matters Alliance
  • Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi (pronounced “Chee”)
  • Alliance for Wireless Power’s Rezence

Here is a look at some of the car models to have already adopted this technology:

  1. Toyota

The 2015 Toyota Avalon, Prius, Camry, and Lexis NX models have a wireless charging option for Qi-enabled smartphones. The wireless charging pad is integrated into the vehicle’s eBin, which rests behind a lid in the vehicle’s center console.

  1. Chrysler

Chrysler currently has a Qi wireless charging option in its 2014 Jeep Cherokee, but in no other vehicles. According to a spokesperson for Chrysler there are no current plans to add a wireless charging unit to any other models.

  1. Cadillac

Cadillac vehicles with the CUE infotainment system will add Powermat and Qi-specification wireless charging of smartphones. GM will start with the 2015 Cadillac ATS sport sedan and coupe launching this fall, followed by the CTS, Escalade and other full-size GM models later this year.

The wireless phone charger is located inside the storage bin behind the motorized center instrument panel faceplate of the car. The phone can also be paired to the car via Bluetooth to stream music and other data wirelessly.

  1. Audi

Although Audi has yet to offer wireless charging capabilities in its production vehicles, earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show, Audi displayed its concepts for a wireless charging unit using the Qi standard.

Look out for this new tech feature in upcoming car models. Don’t get stranded without your phone ever again, these cars offer the capability to charge your phones wirelessly whenever you’re on the go. This will also cut out costs for extra USB charging cords. The benefits are endless.

We are passionate about delivering the most recent tech news to assist your business functionality! 

Three Intuitive Flexible and Customizable Methods to Making a Table in Microsoft Word

Posted by on 7:09 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Microsoft Word TablesCreating a table in Microsoft Word wasn’t always intuitive and efficient. However, in the latest version of Microsoft Word, creating a table is easier than ever. Microsoft now provides different methods for creating tables, and they’re all easily customizable and flexible. Here is a list of three of the many different methods:

  1. Graphic Grid

First open a blank new document, and position the cursor where you want the table to be in the document. Under the Insert tab, click the Table button. The Insert Table dialog box will open. Now, click New and simply move the cursor down to set the size of the table you desire.

  1. Insert Table

the dialog box opens, click New on the left side, and from the drop-down menu, select Insert Table. In the next box that opens, enter the number of columns and rows you want in this table. You can also select the AutoFit option, which will produce very narrow columns that expand as you add info.

  1. Draw Table

For this method, start a new document and then navigate to Insert > Table again. Select Draw in the right corner of the dialog box. The cursor will now turn into a pencil. Simply click and drag on the document where you want your table to be. Once the box is created, you can draw more boxes inside to create rows and columns. Word straightens any crooked lines. This method is great as it allows creativity and great user functionality.

Play around with the options in Microsoft Word to find even more ways to customize and create tables for all your projects. The Table Styles widget is a great way to ensure you aren’t creating mediocre tables. It offers many different styles and color combinations in the table. Experiment and find what speaks to you!

For more information on Microsoft Word table functionality, feel free to contact our team. You can reach us by phone or send us an email. We are here to ensure your needs are met, and that you’re getting the most out of all your needed tools and services. 

Google Provides Incentive to Switch to HTTPS Security

Posted by on 8:33 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Secured Search HTTPSAttention all business owners! Google has recently announced plans to reward websites that uses secure, encrypted HTTPS connections to transmit pages and exchange data a boost in their search result rankings. The change is designed to promote improved online security by encouraging developers to implement a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on their websites.

Google is determined to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web. They are even considering strengthening the signal which will result in a greater search result impact for websites, further encouraging programmers to make the change.

So what should you do to make sure you won’t harm traffic on your website when making the switch? First, communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Follow these next steps to ensure a safe and proper switch:

  • Decide which certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt

Additionally, Google has updated Google Webmaster Tools to better handle HTTPS sites and the reporting on them as well.

Google has given website owners an incentive for the switch, and they have been telling webmasters it is safe to switch for years, so maybe now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. This is a great opportunity for business owners to improve their ranking on Google!

For more information on search engine optimization and HTTPS, please feel free to contact our team. Give us a call or send us an email. Our team will make ensure that your transition from HTTP to HTTPS is smooth and easy. 

FBI Acquires Legal Search Warrant to Crack Anonymous Network TOR

Posted by on 7:57 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

FBI CrackingThis just in! The FBI is cracking TOR anonymously.

Tor is a network or open-source software that allows you to surf the web anonymously. It achieves this by accepting connections from the public Internet, or “clearnet” and encrypting the traffic and bouncing it through series of computers before dumping it back on the web through any of the over 1100, “exit nodes.”

This network was a place for people with privacy concerns to go to, but it was recently discovered that criminals for drugs, child porn, and murder contracts are all using the network.

The system also supports hidden services like websites that make users physical location untraceable. However, once you visit one of these websites, the FBI will trace your every activity legally.

An articled by Wired, revealed a technique called “drive-by-download” under “Operation Torpedo” which is being used by the FBI to target TOR users. Wired writes that, “a hacker infiltrates a high-traffic website and then subverts it to deliver malware to every single visitor. It’s one of the most powerful tools in the black hat arsenal, capable of delivering thousands of fresh victims into a hackers’ clutches within minutes.”

TOR recently confirmed that someone is exploiting TOR Network in order to de-anonymize users. It is now discovered that the FBI is behind the hacking, and no one can deny the hack as the FBI maintains a Legal Search Warrant.

It is rumored that the FBI is using a malware technique called network investigative technique, or NIT. This technique gives the FBI access to your files, location, web history, and webcam for a month at a time.

This story highlights an overall privacy concern emerging; even when a network advertises its privacy there is always a hacker finding a way around it. It is now more important than ever to protect and secure your files.

For more information about TOR and FBI backdoor access, please feel free to contact us. You can reach us by phone, or send us an email. Our team is dedicated to providing clients with the top protective and security strategies.

500,000 Victims of Cryptolocker Can Finally Recover Files Without Paying a Ransom

Posted by on 9:50 pm in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

CryptolockerIn 2013 antivirus companies discovered a new ransomware known as Cryptolocker. Cryptolocker is a ransomware trojan that targets computers running Mirosoft Windows. Ransomware is the type of malware that restricts access to the computer system it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator to remove the restriction.

Cryptolocker encrypted files on Windows computers, and demanded a $400 fee before receiving a private key to the lost scrambled files. They also demanded that the fee be paid in 72 hours or all their files would be destroyed forever. However, recent news has been released that all 500,000 victims can now recover their encrypted files by the malware without paying a ransom.

This is now possible because security experts created an online portal where victims can get the key for free. The portal was created after security researchers gained access to a copy of Cryptolocker’s database of victims. Access was made in May, when law enforcement agencies and security companies seized a worldwide network of hijacked computers that were being used to spread Cryptolocker and other malware. The security officials were then able to grab the victim database as it was being sent.

After seizing these computers, agencies were able to determine the man supposedly in charge of the entire operation. They arrested a Russian man, Evgeniy Bogachev, also known by his online personas “lucky12345” and “slavik”.

Fortunately, studies of the recent back-up database showed that only 1.3% of affected users paid for the ransom. Despite this low response rate, it is believed that the gang involved in creating this malware racked up three million dollars. Many victims did not pay because they were able to restore their files from back-ups.

Unfortunately, it can be assumed that many of the victims of the Cryptolocker malware lost large amounts of very important data and information.

Let this horror story be a lesson for you or your business. Backup your files and make sure your system is protected from viruses and malware. If you don’t know where to start, contact a professional to ensure you have the proper security strategies for your business.

For more information on Cryptolocker and other malware, feel free to contact our team. You can give us a call or send us an email. Our team will ensure your company has the best security strategies in place.

Union Street Guest House Hotel Threatens Wedding Guests – What Can Your Business Learn From This?

Posted by on 6:57 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Yelp ReviewsUnion Street Guest House, a boutique hotel in Hudson, New York has recently been on the rise to infamy, as they attempted to fine a wedding couple $500 for each negative review posted online by its guests. The hotel also claims to fine you if you’re staying with them to attend a wedding at another venue in the area, but leave a negative review.

The terribly inhospitable policy on their website stated:

“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our Inn, your friends and family may not . . . If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 dollar fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event. If you stay here to attend a wedding anywhere in the area and leave us a negative review on any internet site you agree to a $500 fine for each negative review.”

Furthermore, the hotel agrees to give your money back once the negative review has been removed from the website. Instead of the USGH generating less negative feedback, they have caused an uproar with the public for threatening guests instead of attempting to solve their own customer service issues.

The policy statement on the Union Street Guest House website has since been removed and the hotel has declined to comment on the subject.

The USGH Yelp page is now riddled in negative 1-star rating reviews. The public is now taking dramatic efforts to come up with very creative bad reviews to combat the illogical and counterproductive policy of the company.

This is an important event to learn from because it shows how badly a business plan can backfire when the blame is put on the consumer, instead of inwards on the company. Instead of resolving inner problems within the hotel, the company blasted those who shared any negative opinion of the establishment, which then resulted in more negative feedback.

For more information on the best way to leave a review on Yelp or any other online service, contact our team. You can reach us by phone or send us an email. Our team is here to ensure the best possible satisfaction and loyalty from your clients. 

Five Factors to Consider When Purchasing Monitors for Your Small Business

Posted by on 8:33 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

computer monitorsWhen shopping for desktop monitors for your small business, it’s important to do as much research as you would when buying a PC. You must consider many different factors to ensure you make the best possible choice for your company. Young business professionals everywhere have endless choices and opportunities in front of them, don’t stress about making a decision on your own. Here, we will show you what factors to look at when shopping for a desktop monitor for your company to ensure you make the right choice!

  1. Price

Most small businesses maintain a strict budget, so it’s important to spend your money wisely by doing adequate research. Most 22-inch monitor’s cost $150 – $250, while a 24-inch monitor lies in the $200 – $300 range. For companies that rely on large screens, they will be looking at $300 – $400 for a 27-inch screen. It is to be expected that you will pay more for a higher screen resolution, and other features like multiple digital inputs, USB ports, etc.

  1. Size

The next important factor to consider is size. Size goes hand-in-hand with price, as seen in the previous tip. The bigger you go, the more you’ll be spending. Consider the space your business has. Don’t splurge on a giant screen if you don’t have room for it. Also, consider whether your business relies on multitasking to get tasks done, if so it may be wise to go with a 24-inch widescreen monitor, or splurge for a 29-inch ultra-wide monitor instead of maintaining a dual-monitor setup.

  1. Resolution

Resolution is an important factor to consider, especially if your business deals with graphic design, videos and/or highly detailed images. Today, most monitors are capable of displaying content in high definition. A 22-inch monitor usually has a max resolution of 1366 by 768, which means it can only go as high as 720p. A more common resolution is 1920 by 1080, which gives you Full High-Definition (FHD) at 1080p – which is ideal for videos.

  1. Features

If you’re a sucker for added features this is a factor to consider. Different models offer things like an adjustable ergonomic stand, which allows height, tilt, swivel, and pivot changes. Other features can include, DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, or VGA ports. Of course, choosing a monitor with these features will cost more, so consider if it’s something your business really needs first.

  1. Extras

Other cool features that come with recent monitor models include built-in speakers, webcams, and wall-mounting kits. Again, unless your business really needs these extras, take a minute to consider if it’s worth paying a greater price.

For more information on how to choose the right monitor for your small business, don’t hesitate in contacting our team. You can give us a call or send us an email. We’ll ensure you have the right tools to make the best decisions for your company.

Ford Motor Co. Switches to iPhones – What Will YOUR Company Do?

Posted by on 8:38 am in IT Support Blog | Comments Off

Ford iphonesIt looks like it’s bad news for Blackberry again. Ford Motor Co. has recently announced that they will be converting staff from Blackberry smartphones to iPhones. On Tuesday, Blackberry shares fell 4.4%. It looks like there are some major obstacles ahead for Blackberry as the company attempts to pick itself up off the floor after getting kicked down so many times.

Ford has announced that they will replace over 3,300 Blackberry smartphones with iPhones by the end of this year, with end goals to convert the entire workforce over to the Apple devices.

Ford is following in the footsteps of many other companies that have switched over to iPhones. Here are a few that have made the switch in the past few years:

  • Home Depot
  • Cisco
  • Dell

BlackBerry stands by their products stating that, “Enterprises should think twice about relying on any solution built on the foundation of a consumer technology that lacks the proven security benefits that BlackBerry has always delivered.”

BlackBerry plans to expand their presence in the security market with their recent purchase of privately-held German firm Secusmart GmbH, that specializes in voice and data encryption & anti-eavesdropping services for governments, companies and telecommunication service providers.

BlackBerry has had many setbacks but plans to reinvent their brand and delve into the security market making their products a desirable brand yet again. BlackBerry is attempting to appeal to those fed up with the lack of security in modern technology, in the wake of recent NSA spying scandal and exposed Apple backdoors. What do you think? Which smartphone device is best for your company?

For more information on security features of the latest smartphone devices and on which devices are best suited for your company needs, contact us by phone or send us an email. We will ensure the satisfaction of your device of choice.