16 Years In Business!

16 Years In Business!

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We have been so busy lately that we forgot to celebrate our 16 year anniversary! Well, better late than never. Thank you to all our clients new and old. We look forward to providing another 16 more years of top notch technical guidance and support. Not a Wireguided client yet? Contact us today and see how you can join the club of happy businesses.

2017 Means Time for Improvements

2017 Means Time for Improvements

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Many new technologies were announced or rolled out in 2016. Others were on the market before but didn’t deliver as we hoped, were too expensive, or the industry hadn’t fully standardized on them yet. Now that 2017 is well underway and some of these technologies have shaken out, we are ready to put our recommendations forward to help you improve your IT infrastructure and your business.

Collaboration (Office 365)

We are big fans of Office 365. There is no other cloud based solution that offers so much for such a reasonable price. One of the top things we love about it is the constant new services that are rolled out for no additional charge. Two of these we really like are Teams and Planner.

Teams

Microsoft Teams is a brand new feature of Office 365. With Teams you can collaborate in a more social and fluid way than just email. It is a “chat based workspace” which allows employees to work together. You can create a group for Sales, Marketing, Finance,etc.. Inside each team would be a group chat from which you can add files, start on the fly video meetings,  or view team task lists (via Planner). You can also create channels inside each team to further focus discussions. For more information and to see it in action please Click Here and Here.

Planner

Microsoft Planner is a shared task list which makes keeping track of group tasks more efficient and visible. Planner allows you to assign, monitor, and manage tasks for individuals and groups. It is integrated with Microsoft Teams to centralize task management and group communication. For more information (video) please Click Here.

 

OneDrive & SharePoint

OneDrive and SharePoint have been around for a bit. OneDrive is Microsoft’s private cloud (e.g., Your ‘My Documents’ folder in the cloud) and SharePoint is the cloud version of a shared network drive. This is one of technologies that did not deliver as we had hoped. SharePoint had many problems with syncing which caused many a headache for us and our clients. Microsoft had know about this and has now released updated software which allows for both products to use the same, upgraded, software. Clients that have been using the new software have reported much improved results so we can now recommend it once again. OneDrive is a pretty universal win for all clients while SharePoint needs to be recommended on a case by case basis due to some remaining limitations. For more information Click Here (includes a short video).

  • Access to files and folders from anywhere in the world on any platform (Windows, Mac, phone, tablet)
  • Quickly and securely share documents with anyone either inside or outside the organization.
  • Utilize web based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint to edit documents.
  • Ability to work on document with multiple people at the same time.
  • Stores documents in the cloud instead of on local (possible aging servers). Internal power, internet, or system failures would not hamper access to documents.

 

Hardware

New Standards and Lower Costs

New technologies were announced in 2016 and others had significant price drops. It is looking like 2017 may be the year for computer upgrades of any 3-4 year old system. Let’s go through the tech and why you should care.

  • 7th Generation CPUs: Intel’s new 7th generation processors allow for much improved video playback, longer battery life for laptops, and the use of new memory/storage technologies just coming on the market.
  • Solid State Drives (SSD):  While on the market for a few years 2016/2017 has shown the price of SSDs come down while performance and capacity increase. By replacing spinning disks you speed up your computer and lower the risk of data loss.
  • Monitors and DisplayPort (DP): The old VGA connection is going away fast and DP is the replacement. Better images and ability to connect multiple monitors are the key improvements here. DP enabled monitors have also come down in price where they are now our standard.
  • USB Type C: How many times have you tried to plug a USB based device in only to have to flip it over to put it in the right way. USB Type C fixes that annoyance as well as a whole bunch of speed and capability improvements.

Security

Windows 10

90-95% of our clients’ computer infrastructures have been migrated to Windows 10. We can comfortably say that if you have a Windows 7/8 based computer it is time for an upgrade. Multiple new features have been rolled out since it was released and it looks like each one make this product better. Much improved security features as well as better performance and stability make this a must have upgrade.

Cloud User Accounting Services (Azure AD)

With Windows 10 Professional we can now create a single sign on experience between Office 365 and the employee’s desktop. By utilizing this feature your email address and password would also be used to access your desktop. The benefits to Azure Active Directory synchronization are:

  • Streamlined employee onboarding and termination.
  • Improved security via password expiration and enforcement policies.
  • Easier for employees (one login and password).
  • Single Sign On (SSO) ability with various 3rd party websites such as SalesForce.
  • Moves user authentication services from aging onsite server or local account to the cloud.

Security Awareness in 2017

Security Awareness in 2017

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Happy New Year everyone. Let’s kick off 2017 with a reminder on how important security awareness training is. Employees are responsible for 80% of data leaks. All it takes is a single employee clicking on a link to make your company’s security go bye-bye. Here are three good sources on the subject:

Via: www.inspiredelearning.com

 

Buying Computers

Buying Computers

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Many business owners do not understand that purchasing a computer from the local retailer is a bad idea. A computer is a computer right? Well there is a reason that system is only $300.

Reasons to avoid buying a computer for your business from a retailer

  • Warranty – Retail systems usually have only a 30-60 day warranty and after that you may have to mail your system back for repairs. Can you be without your computer for two weeks?
  • Bloatware – Retail systems are loaded with lots of useless applications which slow your machine down over time. You may end up replacing your PC earlier than you had too because it was ‘old and slow’ when it is really what was pre-loaded onto it bogging it down.
  • Made for cost – Cheap parts = cheap price.
  • Operating System – Retail computers come with the Home version of Windows which may not work if you have a server based environment at the office.
  • Support – Good luck. Most retail manufacturers have no phone based support. If they do, it’s usually not worth the time on hold.
  • Old Tech – Many retail models use older versions of standards such as USB 2.0 and 802.11n. These older standards can mean much slower performance.

Reasons to purchase Business level systems

  • Warranty – Most business computers come with 1-3 year next business day onsite warranties. Something goes wrong and you have a tech at your office to fix it. Also, many business level systems allow you to extend warranties if need be.
  • Streamlined – Very limited bloatware means a much longer time before the need to replace them. Unlike home users businesses should be able to get 3-5 years out of their computers if maintained.
  • Made to Last – Built better and usually with the same predictable parts.
  • Support – US based support is normal and if you go through a partner business to purchase your hardware they can usually get to higher up support to get your issue resolved much faster.
  • Customizable – Many vendors have websites where you can customize your systems for your specific business needs. For example, if you still need Windows 7 you can still get it pre-installed.

Recommendations

We have had great luck with Dell products for many many years (we’re Dell Partners). The Optiplex line is great for desktops (some as small as your hand) and the Latitude line is known for its solid performance and longevity. If you have money to burn and you want a light and powerful, the XPS laptop line is rated #1.

  • Memory – At least 8GB
  • CPU – Core i3 or better (6th Gen)
  • Disk – Solid State (for laptops it’s a must)
  • Wireless – 802.11ac
  • Ports – USB 3.0 (and soon USB Type-C)
  • Video – DisplayPort and VGA (for older monitor support)

-Tim

Has My Website been Hacked?

Has My Website been Hacked?

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One of the latest trends for the bad guys is to hack into your website, not to steal your information, but to infect visitors with drive by malware or to display spam messages on your web pages. Most of the time the company is not even aware that they have been compromised which can lead to infected clients, bad publicity, and maybe even legal action.

The good news is that there are free site scanner out there that can do a pretty good job of detecting the most common types of  website malware.  Click the links below to scan your site. You can ignore any messages that they have to purchase their products (the sites are free for a reason). I recommend running both.

Website Malware Scanners

Sucuri SiteCheck

This scanner does a pretty good job locating malware infected pages. If you manage a WordPress site you can install their Sucuri plug-in which does a local scan and recommends ways to secure your site.

Quttera Website Malware Scanner

This site goes a little deeper and will find things Sucuri sometimes misses.

Now what?

Many website infection can be removed either by automated tools or by going to each page on your site, opening the page editor intext mode, and deleting the code inserted (usually at the bottom of each page).

If you do detect an infection and need assistance in not only cleaning up your site but securing it from future attacks please contact Wireguided to help. Thank you.

 

-Tim

 

 

IT Storm Checklist

IT Storm Checklist

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As you might have heard on the news a large storm is headed our way here in New England. There are a few things you should check / do before the storm hits to make sure your technology works and you data does not get lost.

  • Before you leave for the day TURN OFF all devices (e.g., PCs, printers, scanners, copiers, etc.) Also, unplug them from the wall. If the power goes out the resulting surge when it is turned back on can overload that power strip you bought at staples.
  • If you have a server(s) make sure you have a UPS between it and the wall. A good UPS can handle the surge and shutdown your server gracefully when battery power gets low.
  • Following up on the previous item, if you do have a battery backup please check it to make sure the battery is working. Some have digital displays you can check, others lights (red = bad),  and others you need to press a button.
  • Make sure you have your data backed up. If it is backed up run a test restore to make sure it really is backed up and recoverable. If you do not have a cloud back up (e.g., tape, USB drive, etc). make sure the media is in a safe location not near the devices it has backed up in case of flooding, fire, structural damage. Get more info on cloud backups HERE.
  • Your business may be closed for a few days so make sure you have remote access to your data (terminal server, Office 365, OneDrive, Google Docs, etc.) A storm like this is why cloud services like Microsoft Office 365 were designed for. Those monthly fees suddenly are worth it when your business can stay open (and make money) instead of being down for days.
  • If your phone system can handle it reroute calls to your main number / emergency number to a cell phone so your customers can reach you.
  • If you use Twitter, email your clients your Twitter ID so they may receive updates on your business if your company is having issues getting back in service. (We are @Wireguided).

If you do need assistance getting your business back up you can reach us at our emergency # at 781-679-0660 x1.

Good luck and stay safe!

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2015 Check list

2015 Check list

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Now that the holidays are behind us it is time to get back to work and prepare for 2015. Below are a few items to check to help get your business started on the right foot.

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  • While reviewing your expenses for 2014 take a look at your phone and Internet bills. Many times you can lower each by getting competitors’ pricing and presenting that to your existing vendor. If you have business owned mobile phones it may be the year to dump them and move towards using employee’s own phones with business management software.
  • Find out if you (or any key employees) have been hacked. Visit haveibeenpwned.com and enter in your email address to find out. Which leads to…
  • Change all your passwords for local administrator accounts, cloud services, and other key systems. At least 8 characters. Take the first letter of a memorable phrase and add some other items you will remember to it such as your childhood house #.
  • Clean up old user and email accounts as well as old directories on the file server. Not only is it good for security and productivity it can also lower your expenses if you are paying for account or space based services such as online backup or Microsoft Office 365.
  • Do you have a local email server or are you still using a POP account from GoDaddy? This is the year to move to the cloud to save yourself costs and get improve productivity. $4/user/month is a good budget number to plan with for a direct email cloud migration.
  • Still using inkjet printers? Swap them out for laser printers for lower long term costs.
  • Check your UPS (battery backup systems). Some have buttons to test them other have lights (red = bad) or digital displays.
  • Count how many PCs are older than 4 years old. Ballpark $600/machine for replacement. They may work but they are probably so slow it is hurting employee productivity.
  • Test restoring a file from your backup solution. Not using cloud based backups yet? You should be (we can help).
  • …and of course contact Wireguided if you are not happy with your current IT service provider.

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Top 10 To Do List for 2014

Top 10 To Do List for 2014

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Everyone loves a Top Ten list so we though we would join the bandwagon. Below you will find a list of things to do as we start the new year. These items will secure you from hackers, speed up your systems, and make your IT life just a little better.

1. Get Rid of Windows XP..Right Now..Seriously..We’re Not Joking.

If you have seen our past articles you know that after April Microsoft will no longer release any security fixes for XP (end of support). The bad guys are stockpiling exploits to unleash once support ends. Bottom line,If you have a button that says START in the lower left of your screen you will probably be hacked.

2. Switch from the Big Blue ‘E’.

Do you use Internet Explorer to browse the web? If so, stop doing it. Switch to alternative browsers such as Google Chrome or Firefox. You will be more secure, have faster response times, and be able to use extended features. If you use Chrome for example you can sync your browsing data, bookmarks, etc. with any other device that uses Chrome (smart phones, tablets, etc.).

3. Drink some coffee but ditch Java.

HTML5 is now the standard and most websites don’t use Java anymore. It is full of security holes and has many other issues. Removing Java may cut your risk of malware infection by more than 50%. Click here for removal instructions. Make sure you remove all versions.

4. Upgrade to the latest Adobe Reader.

Adobe reader allows the viewing of PDF files but it is also one of the top 3 programs exploited by malware. Keeping it up to date is key. Luckily the latest versions do this automatically for you.Click here to install the latest version. NOTE: Uncheck the installation of McAffee before clicking install now.

5. Test your backup solution before the disaster.

Your files are backed up and secure right? Are you sure? When is the last time you did a test restore? We didn’t think so. Take 5 minutes out of your day to restore some business critical files from your backup solution (tape, disk, cloud) just to make sure your data is really being backed up. Wireguided does offer a business grade cloud backup solution if you are still backing up to tape or a USB drive stuck under your bed.

6. Test your UPS (battery backup). Don’t have one, buy one.

The batteries on a UPS die just like any other battery. Most have a simple button you can press to test it. Press the button and if it beeps you should be good. Other models may have a red light when it is time to replace. Winter storms mean power outages. Power outages mean crashed computers.

7. Switch to laser printing and save money.

Did that $70 inkjet printer just cost you over $300 in toner? Laser printers can now be purchased for under $200. The toner lasts much longer, the printers are built better, and the paper will not smear. There is really no use for an inkjet anymore unless you have extra money to burn.

8. Change your passwords the right way.

How many passwords do you have? 3,4,5,10? The more passwords you have the more insecure they are. A simple way to manage your passwords is to have three levels. One for web sites that are looking for an account but have no personal information (e.g., news websites, games, etc.). One for social media sites and sites you order items from (e.g., Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). And the most secure for banking and other sites with personal information. To make a secure password that is easy to remember make sure it is at least 8 characters long. Think of a phrase and pick the first letter of each word. Add a number at the end or in between the letters and there you go. Add a special character and you have a secure password you can remember. Or you can just go here.

9. Clean up the junk in two clicks.

If you have a PC go and download the free version of CCleaner and run it. If your machine is over a year old you should see improved performance. You may also want to go to your installed programs, sort by installation date, and remove items that are no longer needed or installed without your knowledge.

10. Shutdown your computer when not using it. A reboot couldn’t hurt either.

Many people never shutdown or reboot their computers. We have seen users keep machines on for months. This is bad for many reasons such as wear and tear on the machine (fans do not like spinning non-stop) and power cost (a high end machine on non-stop can cost as much as $600/year). The top reason from an end user point of view would be that shutting down and rebooting a machine cleans it up and helps keep things stable. Think of how you are when you get no sleep. Now look at your machine  you have kept on for months and wonder no more why it is acting strange.

Conclusion

We could have added many more but these should be a good start. Follow these steps,make sure your antivirus is up-to-date, don’t click on zip attachments from ‘UPS’ or the ‘IRS’ and your 2014 should be a happy one. Please feel free to share this article.

-Tim

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Preparing for Business Travel – Part 1

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After coming from ten days on a farm in Ireland I though it would be a good idea to share what tools and tips a businesspassport-main_Full traveler should know about before leaving on a business trip. Part 1 is all about the tools you will need. I will assume you are bringing a laptop.

Tool #1 – Global outlet adapter

Notice I did not say POWER adapter. Many countries (e.g. Europe) use 22o volt outlets, which is not compatible with equipment made for the US (120 volt). However, 99% of laptops can be used on both voltages. Check the bottom of the  power ‘brick’ that sits between the laptop and the outlet. Check the ‘Input’ field to see if it says ‘Input: 110-240V’. If so, you can use it overseas. You just need a way to plug it in. I use the Kensington Travel Plug Adapter. Unlike other power adaptors, it is one unit without multiple loose attachments. It is ugly, but works great.

Tool #2 – Softphone software (and headset)

A softphone is just software that sits on your computer which allows you to make and/or receive calls over the Internet. Basically, your laptop becomes your phone. You may be saying “but I have a cell phone”. If your cell phone works overseas AND is paid for by your company, skip this section. If not, and you do not want to have a crazy phone bill, use a softphone. There are two options I recommend, Skype and Vonage. Skype allows free calls and 1-to-1 video conferences to other Skype users. For additional fees you can make/receive calls to/from regular landlines or cell phones. You will be provided a local US number for people to call. Vonage has a device called a V-Phone which is a little USB adapter that contains all the software needed to make and receive calls. It auto-installs when plugged in to the computers USB port which makes it great if you need a US number on any machine you will be using. The device costs ~$40 plus Vonage fees. The V-phone can also be used as a 250MB flash drive for storage.

Tool #3 – USB Flash Drive

Pick up one of these drives anywhere (or here).It  should contain backups of all your applications and critical documents you will need on your trip.  Scan a copy of your passport as well. You would be wise to also put a file on it with all your emergency / business contact numbers. Feel free to throw some photos from home on it as well. Then, encrypt the flash drive and throw it in your pocket before you leave for the airport. Do not store  it in your laptop bag.

Other tools might include a web camera (with built in mic) or external travel mouse. If you will be traveling for business, please contact Wireguided for more information on this topic.программа анонимайзер для одноклассниковраскрутка сайта алгоритмкредитная карта онлайн заявка во все банкиcasino gratis para jugarescorts servicebedava casino slot oyunlarWill hill bet calculatorпутевки на майскиеидеи оформления маленькой ванной комнатыкиев тур килиманджаро восхождениедам деньги в долг тольяттимай тур владимир отзывывосхождение килиманджаро марангубланк договора краткосрочного займавосхождение на вулкан килиманджаро сафари на джипахсрок хранения денег в кассе на зарплатукредитные карты дельта банкапапка фирменнаядокументы на визу Хорватия украинцамблинные сковородыenglish to arab translationagricultural translationпроектирование и строительство коттеджей под ключсамые дешевые каркасные домасимптомы заболевания щитовиднойlingerie et accessoire