October 26th, 2016

2016october26_virtualization_bIn the past, when small- and medium-sized business owners needed to connect computers located in separate workspaces, virtualization was one of the best options. However, the field of virtualization has evolved to accommodate the increasing popularity of virtual containers. These safer, more portable, solutions are equally accessible to both businesses that already utilize virtualization technology and those looking to start fresh in the field of virtual computers. Regardless of which of those you are, let’s take a closer look at how containers work.

Why are containers so popular?

Before the introduction of containers, virtual workstations and servers allowed users to access computing power and software delivered across a local network or the internet. This technology took cloud computing and web hosting a step further than did just software on a website, and it created entire desktop experiences over the internet. However, it is a tad inefficient since running one small application still requires an entire hosted desktop.

Containers guarantee developers that their software will run smoothly, regardless of what type of computer their end user is running.

How containers improve on virtual desktops

Containers operate quite differently because they only package applications and their minimal requirements into a deliverable package. This makes it possible to deliver several containers to several different users with a significantly smaller footprint on the machine hosting the service.

There are a handful of pieces of software that create and deliver containers, and the most popular is Docker. Before the release of Docker, containers had existed for some time, but they were complicated and difficult to manage. With the rise of popularity in virtualization services, software vendors gained significant resources to make friendlier and simpler container solutions.

Although containers have made big improvements in enterprise computing, virtual machines still have a role to play in select circumstances. In both solutions, older equipment can be reappropriated to utilize much bulkier software hosted in the cloud. All you need is an internet connection, and an experienced IT professional to help you set it up. If you’re interested in either virtualization or accessing your applications in a container environment, please contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

October 25th, 2016

2016october25_security_bWhen it comes to protecting yourself and your business online, the type of authentication you use for logins, whether for business or for personal use, is vitally important. While many people understand that secure logins are crucial, the differences between the various security measures may be lost on many people. Before you give up on understanding the variances between two-factor and two-step authentication, read this article to learn more so you have a fuller understanding of your cyber security.

If you are seeking out a way to improve your business's cyber security, both for your business itself as well as for your customers, you are likely looking at your authentication process. Two-step and two-factor authentication are two of the most commonly used options in cyber security. And in current cyber security, many businesses use the terms two-step and two-factor authentication interchangeably.

There are, however, subtle differences between the two. A two-step authentication process requires a single-factor login (such as a memorized password or biometric reading) as well as another of the same type of login that is essentially sent to the user. For example, you may have a memorized password for your first step and then receive a one-time-use code on your cell phone as the second step.

Two-step authentication does function to add an extra step in the authentication process, making it more secure than a single-step authentication (i.e. just the password). However, if a person or business is hacked, it will do only a little to stop hackers from getting a hold of whatever they are looking for.

On the other hand, there is two-factor authentication (sometimes referred to as multi-factor authentication), which is significantly more secure. This type of authentication requires two different types of information to authenticate. For example, it could be a combination of a fingerprint or retinal scan as well as a password or passcode. Because the types of information are different, it would require a hacker a great deal more effort to obtain both forms of authentication.

In essence, every two-factor authentication is a two-step authentication process, but the opposite is not true. With this information in mind, you can be certain that you are using the right type of authentication in your business to keep your business and customer information as secure as possible.

Your network needs the best security technology has to offer. What type of authentication that results in is just one of hundreds of choices that must be made to achieve that end. To take the stress out of securing and protecting your network, call us today for all the help you could ever ask for.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Security
October 21st, 2016

2016october21_hardware_bPixel phones, Chromecast, Google Home...Google has developed some exciting hardware for us to play with. But perhaps the most welcome addition to their portfolio is the recently announced Google WiFi system. Most endpoints connect to the internet via a centralized router that is unable to send a strong signal to every room, leading to slow internet and dead zones. However, Google WiFi is created to enhance and simplify the wireless experience.

WiFi everywhere Google WiFi is able to offer fast WiFi across your home or business. Today, people install WiFi expecting it to simultaneously support multiple devices that might even be engaged in high-bandwidth activities such as VoIP and live streaming. The problem, however, is that the WiFi signal is often affected by the thickness of internal walls and the distance from the router. Google alleviates this problem by developing a WiFi system that’s expandable.

You can add Google WiFi points in different areas of your office to spread a strong network signal throughout your entire company. Google uses WiFi mesh technology, where every Google WiFi point builds a high-powered signal where all points combined offer the ideal path for data. As a result, high-speed WiFi is built across the house as all points connect to each other to broadcast a strong, high-speed connection. This means your company can say goodbye to slow downloads, poor call quality, and service interruptions.

Automatically optimize your connection Google WiFi can also keep operating at high speeds. It employs Network Assist Technology, a feature that automatically optimizes your wireless connection, keeping it fast without any fussing or manual adjustments on your end. Just imagine taking your office laptop or your iPad from your desk to the meeting room, without experiencing internet connection problems. Google’s Network Assist feature allows your devices to seamlessly transition between Google WiFi points in real time, meaning no delays or dead spots.

Manage your network with an app Google WiFi also comes with a companion app for when you want to manage your network. Available on iOS or Android, the WiFi manager app allows you to reduce bandwidth usage for a particular website, or pause the WiFi connection on certain devices when they’re not in use. You can also prioritize bandwidth for specific devices connected to your network so that you can conduct important VoIP conference calls without any interruptions.

Of course, when it comes to WiFi, security and privacy are top priority. With that in mind, the Google WiFi manager app comes with enhanced security and privacy settings that enable easy management of cloud content, user access control, wireless encryption systems, and automatic updates to keep your business safe at all times.

There’s no telling how well Google WiFi will perform in the market, but if your company values advanced security systems, fast internet speeds, and an easy-to-manage network, then Google WiFi is definitely hardware you should have.

Want to stay on top of the latest hardware trends and developments? Simply give us a call today to find out more.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware
October 19th, 2016

2016october19_businessproductivity_bWith YouTube, Reddit, and Instagram just a few clicks away, it’s a miracle you can get anything done during an eight-hour workday. As you’re probably well aware by now, there is a huge possibility for employees to waste precious time on sites not related to your business. This problem arises when a company does nothing to monitor or regulate internet usage. To fix this, consider using internet monitoring software.

Time-saving measures At times, the internet can be very addictive. Internet monitoring software saves employees from the temptation of online videos and games by restricting access to time-wasting sites that you deem unnecessary for business. But internet monitoring software doesn’t even have to be as extreme as denying permission to harmless social media websites. Just letting your employees know that you’ll be randomly monitoring their internet activity discourages them from taking prolonged visits to their Instagram page.

Avoiding harmful websites The internet hosts plenty of unsavory links and websites. Employees who haphazardly click phishing links or access malware-ridden pornography sites can put your business at risk. Working with infected machines can slow down the entire system and, in some cases, completely halt operations. But by using internet monitoring tools you can restrict access to dangerous websites, and identify reckless employees to remove their internet privileges, if necessary.

Controlling bandwidth usage Even while using the internet for the right purposes, bandwidth can be used up quickly. Internet monitoring gives you up-to-the-minute reports on your bandwidth usage. Once you have a clear understanding of your company’s overall bandwidth usage, you can then control its expenditure. This feature allows you to prioritize bandwidth for critical business applications and reduce bandwidth for less necessary websites.

Increasing productivity on the internet Internet monitoring software may be a powerful tool, but it should be used responsibly. As a business owner, you need to walk a fine line between over-surveillance and under-surveillance. What you should do is establish a clear internet policy. Then, explicitly define the disciplinary measures to be dispensed on anybody who goes against the requirements of the internet policy. And deal with time-wasting employees on a case-by-case basis. It’s unreasonable to remove everyone’s Facebook privileges because one or two abused theirs.

Employee productivity can be difficult to achieve, especially with the proliferation of what we would like to call, “procrastination software.” But with web monitoring software, you can truly get your business -- and your employees -- back on track. Looking for more ways to increase business productivity with technology? Give us a call. We’ll be happy to make suggestions.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Business
October 18th, 2016

2016october18_apple_bWhether or not to buy an iPhone 7 is a personal decision, and an especially difficult one if you’ve owned a previous version of the device. There are several pros and cons to consider when deciding whether an upgrade is worth the investment. Other than being influenced by reviews, tech lovers may make their decision based solely on bragging rights. So to avoid making an ill-informed decision, check out the arguments for and against the iPhone 7 here.

Water resistance This is one of the features new to the iPhone. The iPhone is 7 is IP67, meaning that it is designed to withstand liquids and dust. Even though Apple doesn’t define liquid protection, this is similar to the original Apple Watch and is therefore able to survive splashes and accidental drops into a pool of water, a welcome addition for iPhone users who value water resistance in their gadgetry.

Future proof Future compatibility is another feature of iPhone 7. Apple's current mobile operating system is iOS 10 and runs a range of applications and features not available to outdated iPhone models. But iPhone 7 can virtually run any app ever created for the platform. Therefore, an iPhone 7 will carry its users well into the future by running on the latest technology. Users of iPhone 4 or 4S are out of compatibility and may consider upgrading. Users of iPhone 5 or 5C are on edge and should also probably consider an update.

Better graphics The iPhone 7 boasts a 4.7-inch screen and 1336 x 750 pixels at 326ppi, which allows users to run iPad-style apps in a landscape display. iPhone 7 also has DCI-P3 broad-range color, which means brighter photos, games, videos and more. People who demand rich graphics or have a high acute color sense certainly won’t be disappointed.

Faster and juicier Apple Fusion 10 and long battery life are the features that make iPhone 7 cutting edge. People who need an iPhone with more power and a battery that fully charges in minutes -- not hours -- will love this upgrade. The new iPhone 7 has a cutting-edge LTE + Wi-Fi, enabling faster transfer of data and connectivity. Users with 802.11ac router who want to open applications, load webpages, and stream videos at a faster rate won’t have anything to complain about once they’ve switched over to the new model.

Stellar camera iPhone 7 features a camera that can perform at the same-level as mid-range SLR cameras. With a 12-megapixel sensor and ƒ/1.8 aperture, as well as 7 megapixels for FaceTime conversations, individuals who want to fill their Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook accounts with high-quality photos will definitely have something to brag about. Finally, the iPhone 7’s 3D and live photos feature can add depth and movement to your photos.

Although the iPhone 7 may not look very different, there’s actually a lot going on under the hood that can probably enhance the user experience. So will you be lining up for this iPhone anytime soon? For more details on iPhone 7 trends and Apple innovation, contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic apple
October 14th, 2016

2016october14_office_bTechnology is ever-evolving and always improving. And with its new machine learning features, Office 365 is bringing new meaning to that aphorism. Long gone are the days of Clippy, Microsoft’s Office assistant, which has been replaced by far less personal, far more effective ‘intelligent’ tools. If you need a reason to make the move to Office 365, this article may have just what you’re looking for -- let’s find out.


How many times have you been working in a Word document or an Outlook email and needed to quote a report or copy in a graph from another file? With 365’s new ‘Tap’ service, you have the option to do that without even leaving the application you're working in. Microsoft’s intelligent assistant will even suggest information and data for you to insert based on what you’re writing. You may not even have to make the search -- it will predict what you need in advance!


A blank canvas is always intimidating when creating a presentation. Quickstarter for PowerPoint and Sway gives you the boost you need by suggesting outlines, layouts, and even information based on the subject you’re presenting on. For example, if you’re holding a meeting to discuss a business retreat, Quickstarter will suggest page layouts and important text for lodging, transportation, itinerary, etc. Half of your presentation could be finished within minutes of starting it.


Sometimes it seems like everyone else has stunningly beautiful PowerPoint presentations while ours just look like stock templates. And that’s why we’re so excited about the announcement of Designer. All you have to do is insert your text and your photos or graphics, and Microsoft’s machine learning will automatically position, resize, and fade each component so it looks like a professionally designed slide.


Everyone has made a graph based on Excel data before. It’s probably the swiftest software solution for transforming numbers into charts on the market, and it’s getting a pretty cool upgrade. Now you can convert geographic data like country names into colored and categorized maps. Go ahead and select a second column of data and watch the countries light up based on the differences between the data points in the second column. Do you have sales data that’s organized by location? Maps will let you create a chart that displays that information with little to no manipulation necessary.


The last announcement comes in the form of a standalone dashboard for aggregating your work habits. MyAnalytics pulls data from various 365 tasks to help you recognize meetings trends, most productive times of day, and project progression. And if you’re not ready to do anything with this data yourself, the dashboard will make suggestions to you such as ‘focus time,’ best collaborators, and productivity goals.

With these exciting and intelligent additions, entirely new levels of business productivity are possible. Even before Microsoft announced these features, Office 365 reigned supreme as one of only a few truly wonderful pieces of productivity software. If you haven’t made the transition yet, there’s no better time -- call us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic office
October 12th, 2016

2016october12_windows_bAt one point, Microsoft claimed it could convince 1 billion users to use their Windows 10 operating system. Obviously that’s an unattainable goal for the foreseeable future, but it hasn’t stopped Microsoft from releasing tools to push more people to their software. With its sights set directly on business deployments of the operating system, the tech giant has released a new tool to oil the gears of large-scale migrations. We’ve got all the details on the forthcoming software right here.

Named the Windows Upgrade Analytics Service (WUAS), Microsoft is gifting administrators and service providers with tools very similar to those it uses to do its own bulk installs. By gathering data on multiple devices, applications, and hardware drivers on a network simultaneously, massive disruptions and troubleshooting events can be avoided entirely.

If any of these variables are customized or outdated, they may not work in a Windows 10, derailing a focused migration workflow. Available right now, this service does more than just inventory your workstations, it also uses the data it has gathered to guide administrators step-by-step through the most efficient order of upgrades possible.

If all your IT components are uniform and compatible with the most recent Windows 10 service pack, it will recommend a straightforward migration. However, if you have pockets of older, or more specialized machines, WUAS may suggest splitting the process up by upgrading those machines first to smooth the process.

Microsoft delivers the features of this service through its cloud-based Operations Management Suite. Make sure it's installed on your machines and add ‘Upgrade Analytics’ from the ‘Solutions Gallery.’ From there, a simple wizard will guide you one item at a time through the four-step process.

Windows gets several updates per year, and it's a waste of company resources for your staff to be stuck waiting for their machines to get back up and running while they update. Why not just outsource the entire process to professionals who will finish the task in a fraction of the time? Our managed services come with a flat fee, regardless of whether you want to upgrade all or just some of your workstations. Don’t believe us? Just call today to find out more!

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Windows
October 11th, 2016

2016october11_virtualization_bMicrosoft has found a way to incorporate virtualization protocols into the security of its Edge browser. With the protection of internet browsing inside a virtual container, hackers have a harder time exploiting unsuspecting web users. Read on to discover whether this development will compel you to switch internet browsers in your office.

Browsers are one of the most popular avenues for cyber-criminals to deliver their wares, and new security measures by Microsoft set out to reduce that risk significantly. In a first for internet browsers, Microsoft has burnt any potential bridges between malware and PC hard-drives. The new and virtualized Edge is only available for Windows 10, and administrators will be required to choose what runs inside, and outside of the container.

When enabled, malware cannot gain access to anything outside of the Edge browser. Think of it like reheating your leftover lasagna inside a covered container; when that gooey mozzarella tries to muck up the walls of your microwave, your tupperware ensures it stays clean. So in our case, the cheese is malware, and even if you download malware from an untrusted site, it cannot reach beyond the container that Edge uses to protect your files.

According to tests run by Microsoft, the Edge browser has the lowest chances of malware infection when compared to other browsers running on Windows. And that means a lot when you consider that when it comes to cyber-attacks, the default Windows browser is always the first target.

In addition to creating containers for limiting the exposure of workstations, any malicious data is deleted by resetting the virtual space after users are done with it -- not unlike tossing your dirty tupperware into the dishwasher after reheating last night’s saucy noodle goodness. Permanent cookies aren’t kept after the reset, and it’s impossible for malware to continue running without a space to do so. Every new session starts with a clear, clean browser.

For those new to the virtualization game, it may seem like running Edge in this environment could slow down the machine. But Microsoft has guaranteed a cutting-edge, extremely light burden when enabling the service. When your organization is looking for virtualization services, from creating all your desktops in a virtual, internet-based space, to simply making your browsing more secure with virtual Edge browsers -- there’s only one team to call. Pick up the phone and dial us today. You’re a short consultation away from a cheaper, safer IT infrastructure.

Published with permission from Source.

October 7th, 2016

2016october7_security_bThe technology of crime is evolving, and criminals get smarter every day. But when technology proves too difficult to exploit, criminals resort to manipulating information from their targets via social engineering. This burgeoning field allows criminals to trick people into disclosing sensitive information such as passwords and bank information. If you’re worried about the ability of your employees to avoid scams such as these, we have a few quick tips for you.

As more and more of our information moves into the digital realm, criminals are turning to social engineering to trick people into trusting them with their delicate information. People often trust others too easily and make themselves the targets of easy attacks from criminals. These attacks may come in the form of messages, baiting scenarios, fake company responses, and many others.

Most often, messages are sent to users in the form of an email that might contain a link or something to download. Although they may look legitimate, these emails often contain viruses; once the link is opened or you attempt to download it, a virus latches onto your computer, giving its creator free access to your email account and personal information.

Emails such as these can also come with a compelling story about needing help, winning the lottery, or even paying taxes to the government. Under the veil of legitimacy, criminals will ask you to trust them with your account details so they can either reward you or help you avoid fines and punishments. What you actually get is a bad case of identity theft.

In another scenario, criminals will bait their targets with “confidential information regarding their account.” This may come in the form of fake company messages that appear to be responses to your claims, which are followed up by a request for login details. While victims believe they are slamming the door on a crime by providing their information, they’ve actually provided their attackers with the keys.

There are several ways people can avoid becoming victims of social engineering. First, always ensure that you delete all spam from your email, and thoroughly research sources before responding to claims from a company -- even if it seems like the one you normally use.

The same applies for links. Confirm the destination of any link before clicking on it. Sites like are often used to shorten long and cumbersome links, but because users have grown accusomted to them they are often used to hide malacious misdirections.

Never give out sensitive information that includes your password, bank information, social security, or any other private details. No respectable financial institution will request this type of information through email or a site other than their own. If you’re unsure, navigate away from the page you’ve been sent to and visit the page you believe to be making the request. If the address doesn’t have the letter ‘s’ after ‘http,’ it’s likely a scam.

Last but not least, check that all your devices are protected by the most recent antivirus software. While the strength of social engineering lies in the fact that it’s people-driven rather than technology-driven, antivirus software can help detect and prevent requests from known cybercriminals.

Cyber security is essential to the success of any modern business. Don’t let yourself become victim to criminals who have mastered the art of social engineering. While we’re proud of our extensive experience as technology professionals, we also have more than enough expertise to keep your business safe from those who are using people-based exploits. Get in touch with us today for all your security concerns.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Security
October 6th, 2016

2016october6_hardware_bStarting a business may seem simple, but running one has its costs. For a business to run efficiently, there must be necessary resources. IT equipment is one such resource, and it must be updated regularly to keep up with the pace of technology. Additionally, purchasing equipment is costly, and most businesses are now opting for Hardware-as-a-Service, or HaaS. Read on for a comprehensive review of the benefits of HaaS.

Upfront Capital

The main benefit of HaaS is that it enables businesses to conserve on upfront capital expenditures. By replacing these high costs with a lease structure and low monthly payments, resources can be redirected toward other budget items. As a result, the business will have more resources that it could have otherwise used to purchase the computers.

More modern hardware

For businesses with outdated equipment, HaaS is an easy workaround for them to upgrade their IT hardware. A service provider can supply the latest equipment at a lower monthly cost, and when their client’s machines age, upgrades can be provided without fear of incurring additional costs. By choosing this route, SMBs won't have to deal with disposing their old equipment. The service provider will take full responsibility for that.

Taxes and accounting

When it comes to tax payments, businesses that opt for HaaS are also at an advantage. Equipment will be listed as a service from a vendor rather than a capital expense -- thereby decreasing their tax liability. SMBs will enjoy all the benefits of cutting-edge equipment, without the taxes that usually accompany it. HaaS allows companies to get the equipment they need without running the risk of incurring more debt. Having a balance sheet with less debt is beneficial to the business, as it provides the business with secure financial services to expand.

However, when it comes to HaaS, it is important to consider what sort of technology the business needs. For example, if there is a substantial need for equipment, the best option is to choose HaaS rather than incur debt from purchases. For more information on managed IT solutions and outsourcing your technology difficulties to the experts, contact us today.

Published with permission from Source.

Topic Hardware