An Overview on How Westchester Businesses Use IT Services

An Overview on How Westchester Businesses Use IT Services As Westchester is the county where I currently live, work and support my clients with my IT services, I have decided to spend some time studying the business sectors of the county and analyze data related to how businesses operating in this county employ IT services. As more people have moved from New York to Westchester county because of the 2020 pandemic, the county administrators have been building momentum on new initiatives, such as boosting the biotech sector and developing more industrial initiatives. Furthermore, what has attracted people to move to Westchester in the recent years was a great school system and the vicinity to New York City which makes the commute to Manhattan not an heavy undertaking. At first glance, Westchester county has about one million residents, whose median age is about 41 years old and according to the latest census, the resident age is divided in the following percentage: 40% of the Westchester residents are of median age, 25% are between 20 to 39 years old and 35% have ages between 40 to 64. But what about the businesses that operate in Westchester? After having pulled some data, I can confirm that there are not only Fortune 500 companies doing business here but there is also also a decent amount of retailers and small businesses as per the chart below: Basically, there is a balance between mega cap companies and small businesses: large companies account for the 60% of the businesses, and 40% is taken by smaller entities. Now, how all these business use IT or buy IT services? Apparently, I would hardly believe that the computer and networking needs of a large business are the same as those of a small retailer that has 3 or 6 computers and only one office location. Let’s find out how different can be a large network from a small business network. WHAT DOES A LARGE NETWORK NEED IN TERMS OF IT SERVICES? WHAT DOES A SMALL BUSINESS NETWORK NEED IN TERMS OF IT SERVICES? The following chart shows how companies prioritize their IT investments in Westchester county: As the above chart shows, cloud and cyber security are the main investments allocated by big companies, because the risks of having a network hacked are higher in a large environment than in a smaller business. In doing so, large companies spend a lot in educating users about security and cyber safety. IT departments of this sector are heavily involved in network and computer security with programs and webinars for employees and managers. On the other hand, a small operation focuses more on business continuity and hires IT consultants on retainer or on request. This approach minimizes the investment in IT resources but small business very often can suffer downtime for a period of time if the IT consultant is not available to come immediately on the premises. Evidently enough, IT consultants working for both types of business face different problems they are called to work on and the following chart shows the main issues that occur in both environments: The IT issues that computer technicians face in a large business are more related to reimaging pcs because of the large turnover rate and smaller problems such as outlook malfunctioning. Small businesses, on the other hand, are more prone to get infected, more inclined to not spend on security and users training. Small business use computers to accelerate income that derives from their operation and need more hardware repair and printing support than a larger environment, where computer replacement happens at a faster rate. As you may have realized, the difference between the two categories depend on the investments: large companies employ tech support to educate users on how to be safe online and avoid email spoofing, whereas small businesses tend more to get the most out of their devices without questioning if the use of a laptop or an Iphone can be done in a safe environment where all users observe the security policy the owner of the business has eventually set up in cooperation with the IT consultant he trusts.

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NAS vs. External Hard Drive: Which One is Better for Backing Up Computers and Laptops?

NAS vs. External Hard Drive: Which One is Better for Backing Up Computers and Laptops? With all the hardware and software products out there, are there any differences or benefits in backing up computers to an external hard drive vs to a NAS? The clients whom I support with my IT Services in Westchester and in the tri state area all run small businesses and all run Network Attached Storages to backup their computers. Other customers who have very small computing power and are very basic users, use external hard drives instead. In this article, I will break down my advice regarding the context when external hard drives and network attached storage should be used. As you will discover in my article, there are pros and cons in both solutions and all depends on the size of your network and on what the business needs are in terms of storage solutions. In addition, the pandemic has made users’ needs very fluid not only here in Westchester county but in the rest of the world and none of the backup solutions can be really be labeled to a particular client.However, my aim is to clarify what is the standard or “normal” use of those devices that backup computers and laptops. 1) If you have only one desktop computer or a laptop with few files and pictures, you may want to use an external hard drive to backup those files. A client of mine in Harrison NY is a very basic user and he stores a few files on his laptop that can easily be backed up and stored to a usb external hard drive via the built in Windows 10 File History feature. 2) If you don’t use your computer every day, you may just want to use an external hard drive to save a copy of your data. 3) Another example why external hard drives are used is when some users do not trust the cloud. Some friends of mine decide to go this way after they expressed me their concern about data stored on third party servers. This argument is right but the downside of this approach is that these users do not know that the cloud has encryption features and encryption algorithms to safeguard the data. And the truth is always in the middle: business owners should use both types of backup, to the cloud and to servers located in the premises. 1) Let’s say that you are a very simple user such as the one described in point number 1 above, and all of a sudden you get hired by a video production company. You would definitely need to scale up your computing power; if your work flow has evolved over the years, you cannot keep buying external hard drives and you should really get a NAS. 2) If from a small home user you decide to open up your own business in Westchester or in New York, no matter if you work from home or in an office, you should buy a NAS. A NAS is always recommended when there are more than 2 computers to backup. 3) As the name implies, A NAS is connected to the network, whereas an external hard drive is directly connected to one computer at a time and you should not plug and unplug frequently the hard drive via the usb port, otherwise you will risk to damage both usb ports on the computer and on the usb drive too. On the other hand, if you always leave the external hard drive connected to the desktop and your machine is hit by a ransomware, you will lose the data in the external hard drive as well. 4) A Network Attached Storage is a small file server made of several hard drives (min. 2) that are configured in such a way that if one of the two hard drives fails, the other will keep running and will store the data until the broken hard drive is replaced. This type of redundancy is called “parity” and kicks in when the NAS is configured in RAID. Without entering into too many details, a RAID is what makes a NAS always running without chance of losing the data because hard drives can be replaced if they fail without compromising the data stored in the server box. 5) Think also bout this: if you have more than 2 or 3 computers, do you really have time to use those external hard drives to constantly backup your machines? It will take hours to do that . A NAS, on the other hand, has apps that can be configured to backup files and folders automatically at set intervals. 6) A NAS is your personal cloud. A specific configuration inside the NAS allows the administrator to set it up with DDNS so that the NAS can be accessed from the Internet, aka from any part of the world. If you are traveling and need to retrieve files that are not in your laptop, you can login into the NAS and retrieve the files you are looking for. Similarly, if you work on a machine that is not yours, you can upload files to the NAS and get them back at your office computer later on. 7) Network Attached Storage have apps that allow video and music streaming. Some products have apps for Iphone and Ipads that connect to the NAS to stream content through Car Play even when you are driving . These very cool features make the use of a NAS almost like an indispensable companion while traveling. Productivity and fun are both accomplished by a NAS that can retrieve files from the internet and stream them on an Iphone or Android located in any part of the world. 8) NAS are safer than external hard drives. The software that runs in them is Linux-based and less prone to get infected. However, to make a NAS a safer networking environment, network administrators should set up permissions

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What you Can Do or Cannot Do During an IT Remote Support Session

What you Can Do or Cannot Do During an IT Remote Support Session The 2020 pandemic has changed the way we work and has enhanced our work from home. Both users and IT support try to get things done when distance does not allow to meet in person and resolve computer or network issues in the office. Software for remote support have flourished during the pandemic and are still used as of this writing: Zoom, Cisco Webex and Ring Central has allowed many people in the world to continue to work for themselves or for their employers. These software are also used by computer specialists to organize meetings, update knowledge base and discuss IT matters internally. This new type of product has also expanded the range of tech support tools that are already in use, such as Teamviewer or Anydesk. This article would like to explain the range of tasks that can be addressed and resolved during a remote session, although we all need to be aware that remote support sessions not always are reliable nor can really solve computer or network problems. 1- Repair a computer: help desk cannot repair a computer they are remoting in for support, because hardware repair requires the computer being turned off and physically accessible in the premises. I have a client of mine whose machine did not turn on anymore before even beginning the migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and that issue required me to go to her office in Yonkers. 2- Repair a printer: if the printer does not turn on anymore or has connectivity issues, tech support won’t be able to see it in the network and therefore cannot fix it. However, what a technician can do is to guide users step by steps on how to check the wires, to unplug it and plug the printer back in etc etc. 3- Fix a monitor: if the monitor is acting up and displays weird colors, tech help can probably suggest users to check the wires for connectivity and after having turned it off and then back on again, determine if the device needs to be replaced. 4- Install or uninstall programs: if the user is in a domain controller environment or has a standard account, IT support won’t be able to help because the machine is setup to be controller by a domain administrator. If tech help does not have the admin login credentials of the user seeking help, tech support cannot really do anything because to install or uninstall programs you need an admin account. I have seen several times users retaining their computer from work after being terminated but not being able to get the help they need because of the restrictions applied to their devices. The solution in this case is to wipe out the machine and reinstall the operating system after having backed up the files that the user needs. 5- Increase the Internet speed: for this task users have to call their Internet Service Provider who will increase the speed of their Internet for a fee. Increasing the Internet speed is always recommended because if a person uses the wifi or is hardwired during a remote session, the Internet speed in both cases should be at least 100 Mbps. 1- Remove a virus: if the computer is hit by a virus, the technician can operate a scan with an antivirus program and possibly remove the infection. If the computer is hit by ransomware, help desk cannot do anything except wiping out the machine and reinstalling OS and programs again. This task requires the computer expert to be onsite to restore an image of the pc or reinstall files and all the programs from scratch. 2- Install or troubleshoot a printer: sometimes users cannot print or scan even if their printers are still connected to the network. A system administrator can operate easily and with confidence to resolve the lack of connectivity the printer or scanner has. Sometimes the issue can be resolved by using the built-in Windows troubleshooting tool for printers. 3- Install or troubleshoot Microsoft Office 365: sometimes users realize that they don’t have a subscription to Microsoft products or their Outlook is not working. Outlook can be troubleshooted remotely by techs by creating new profiles and or by reinstalling Office again. 4- Install a new email or add other emails: if a user uses Outlook, that task can be accomplished easily by installing new emails, removing them or by adding new emails in the Outlook control panel. 5- Install or remove programs: like any other software, any type of program can be added to meet users’ needs or removed in case tech support wants to make more room in the pc’s hard disk. 6- Backup a computer: that is a very good move that tech help can do because backing up files and folders saves users data from hardware failures. During a remote session, both backups to an external hard drive and or to a cloud service can be setup by computer people with no particular issues. 7- Educate users: this broad topic ranges from teaching users how computers really work in terms of files, folders, right click features, customizations, to educating them to be safe online. Cybersecurity is one of the best topic that can be discussed remotely because users will learn a lot from tech people and will take notes from those who remoted in to educate them. The time spent to educating users on how to avoid phishing emails and to be safe when they use the Internet is really priceless and companies are constantly spending time and resources in educating users through webinars and other media to use devices in a safe manner. Fortunately, technology has resolved many problems such as connecting easily users and help desks. In this context, remote sessions should be considered as a preventive tool to avoid hardware failures. Also, working remotely to help users saves IT costs and time spent traveling to

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My Most Comprehensive Guide to Upgrading your Small Business Network

My Most Comprehensive Guide to Upgrading your Small Business Network A recent inquiry from a Westchester resident who became client of mine, made me better understand that it can be helpful to the viewers of my website if I can describe not only the IT work I have done for him but also the benefits and the steps required for upgrading a home or a small business network. First of all, IT support does not only mean supporting users in their software or hardware needs but it also requires a specific knowledge of how networks work. As a matter of fact, networking is that invisible element of Information Technology that deals with the connection of all the devices to the local area network (LAN) and to the Internet. Networking also refers to the shared resources and devices that are hooked up to the same or other networks. Why then people or IT consultants decide to upgrade a network? Also, what does it mean “upgrading a network”? Are the requirements for upgrading the same for each business or do they depend on geolocations and vary if users are in Westchester county, Connecticut or New Jersey? The main reasons why networks are upgraded can be several and I can list them here: 1- Users in the same network need more Internet speed; 2- Users need faster WIFI coverage and speed; 3- Users need to share files and folders more quickly within the same network (LAN); 4- Business owners can decide to convert a home network into a small business network and hire more employees, which means more computers, printers and smartphones will share the same network resources. A friend of mine decided to open his own business at home, hired more people and quit a job that forced him to commute to work every day. Answering the second question means that we all have to agree on the meaning of the expression “Upgrading a Network”. Upgrading a network can mean two things: 1- Upgrading the Internet speed: more Internet speed is required if the house is larger than 2,500 square feet and there are more than 7 people and devices connected to the network. in a previous post, I have described how to check for wifi deadspots in your house. In this case, after having upgraded the Internet speed, it would be enough to get the most up to date version of the WIFI 6 router your ISP has. 2- Upgrading all the network devices in your network to 10 GB LAN speed which has nothing to do with the Internet speed. A 10 GB network is necessary, if devices share multiple files and folders and servers need to serve files and folders to workstations located in the same local area network. Usually no IT support is needed for upgrading Internet speed, but experience in the IT field is required to setup a 10 GB network. The project I took up for my client was the upgrade of the internal network to 10 GB speed because his main goal is to share files and folders within the same network as fast as possible. As of this article, 8 ports 10 GB RJ45 switches are still the most popular. Some may complain about such a short number of ports, but the lack of extra ports is due to the fact that 10 GB networks are still not very popular and that not all the devices need to be hooked to a 10 GB network. For example, if you have 7 workstations and 3 printers, only the workstations have to be plugged in into the 10 GB switch. The printers’ network cards do not support 10 GB network yet. Also, if your business has an on the premises Windows server, the server has to be plugged in to the 10 GB switch, if the server has a 10 GB card. A Network Interface Card with two RJ 45 ports allows to configure the 2 ports in NIC Teaming, that is, if one fails, the other jumps in to continue the job. These type of cards are also very helpful in a server environment: if the server detects the fault condition, the traffic is moved automatically to the second NIC. These cards need to be professionally installed by a computer expert into the motherboard of a desktop computer. Before the installation, the card manufacturers should give you a link to its website to download and install the corresponding drivers. After all the equipment and the network have been upgraded to 10 GB, the rate of transfering files should increase and look like the following picture: You should notice a 30 per cent speed increase. 10 GB network can allow users to send a 20 GB file in under 20 seconds. Another benefit of using a 10 GB network is when a business network uses a Network Attached Storage (NAS) to backup and or restore files from computers. However, not all NASes have 10 GB network cards. If IT technicians cannot replace the nas’ nic with a 10 GB network card, I recommend to install a NVME hard drive for caching purposes in the NAS so that file transfer will accelerate.

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Do I Need IT Tech Support when Replacing my Verizon Router?

Do I Need IT Tech Support when Replacing my Verizon Router? This article discusses some tips about being a Westchester resident: as Westchester main Internet providers are Optimum and Verizon, I will be focusing on Verizon. Have you ever thought of replacing your home router? Also, is that difficult if I try to do it myself, or do I need Westchester tech support to come over to my house or my office? Let’s find out what it takes to replace a home Fios router. First of all, let’s ask ourselves some questions: 1- Does a router ever break or stops working? 2- When do users need to replace a router? 3- What type of router will replace the one we are returning? 4- What are the steps involved in getting a new router and where do I return the old router? The answers can be summed up as follows: 1- Yes, wifi routers and any type of routers or firewalls stop working like any other appliance and we don’t know when this will happen. You are just getting no Internet or your devices cannot connect to the wifi at all. 2- A router usually gets replaced when: a) it does not work anymore and needs replacement. b) Users have decided to upgrade the router speed and features. c) Users move from one place to another and have to return the equipment or get upgraded equipment. d) In some cases, and if you are a tech person, a router from the ISP is replaced when users decide to get a third-party more powerful router. Look at the following picture: Ten years ago, the Verizon Fios Mi 424 was the most advanced router of its category because it could carry optical fiber and, in terms of wifi, it was a type N device, that is, this router was supporting wireless 802.11n Wi-Fi with theoretical speeds of max 300 Mbps. In my experience however, I have never seen such a router carrying more than 100 Mbps speeds. About 5 to 6 years ago, Verizon started to market the Verizon Fios Quantum Gateway (FIOS- G1100). This was the router that had for the first time dual band frequencies with 2.4 and 5 ghz networks. This router is still in some offices of my clients today and it performs well if you just need to hardwire devices with Cat 5e cables. The picture below, shows the G1100 which is still used today: A couple of years ago, Verizon upgraded its Fiber network to 1GB speed and WIFI 6 frequency and the new router that is supporting these upgrades is the G3100, as per picture below: This router is my favorite, although last year Verizon ran into hiccups when it sent an email announcing overnight firmware upgrades that as a result messed up the router; users had to call Verizon or go to a Verizon store to replace it. After this incident, Verizon does not have plans to upgrade the router firmware but we don’t know if in the future the ISP will attempt to push the firmware upgrade again. Furthermore, for those who are waiting to go even faster with Multigigabit routers, 6 months ago Verizon launched the CR1000A which will support WIFI 6E technology and 2.5 up to 10 GB wired ethernet ports. In another article I will post details regarding how to upgrade your home or small business network in Westchester if you decide to upgrade to a Multi Gigabit router. So, if the router breaks or you have decided to upgrade your router is that an easy task or do you need assistance from qualified tech experts? The answer is no; you don’t need to call tech support as long as you have time and patience. You need time because to replace the router, Verizon can ship the router to you or you can go to the closest Verizon store to get the appliance. Secondly, you need a bit of patience because after plugging in the router, the network signal does not come right away but you may need to reboot the device several times before getting a steady signal. Replacing a router with the same make and model from the same ISP does not require technical skills and Verizon tech support can help you or you can do it yourself after having read the instruction manual. However, if you decide to replace your FIOS router with a more powerful third party WIFI router from brands like Netgear and Linksys, that task will require customized configurations and technical background. If you live in a house or work in an office of up to 2,000 square feet, I recommend to upgrade your router speed and appliance itself, especially if you have extenders already plugged in. Get a faster updated router and get rid of the extenders. You will discover that your signal will be stronger. In this case, the least wifi repeaters or extenders, the better.

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Considerations Before Migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10

Considerations Before Migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10 A few days ago, a client in Yonkers requested my IT support to have the specifics about what it would entail to migrate her office network from Windows 7 to Windows 10. This client of mine had previously used another computer consultant who then left without leaving any type of documentation about the network configuration. The migration has been deemed necessary as the workstations in the office run Windows 7 and some of them experienced hardware failure. The network runs with one Windows Server 2012 and 5 Dell workstations, all running Windows 7 Professional. These are the considerations and the preliminary steps I have made before deploying the migrations: Migrations and upgrades need to be planned in advance before being deployed successfully. It’s always not so easy to balance time needed for the upgrades, minimize disruptions and test the deployment. Another important factor to take into account is that replacement should be done not when the old computers are dead but when they are still running. If for any reason the replacement runs into issues, the Windows 7 computers can be put back temporarily and there will be enough time to study what went wrong.

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Pearls of Wisdom on Getting the most out of your Tech Life

Pearls of Wisdom on Getting the most out of your Tech Life We are all living busy lives, we work and have families, but when we approach a device, many times we forget to take the right attitude towards it and we don’t ask ourself the right questions. When we use a computer or set it up for the first time, do we ever ask ourselves if that device is safe, how long approximately will it last, how we are going to use it, how are we going to discard it once it is at the end of its life? I have enough experience to admit that we all make mistakes based on poor judgment, rush, wrong attitude etc etc. and that we can improve our knowledge by listening to those who can give you good pieces of advice. The following tips will help you reflect and think that your digital life is as important as your biological life and that for this reason, you may want to take the appropriate action to avoid costly mistakes: 1- When a thunderstorm is coming, unplug your device from the outlet or from the surge protector. Even if you have a surge protector, that won’t be enough to withstand the voltage of a lightning striking your house (unless you have a lightning conductor); 2- If you run a machine with Windows 7, backup your data and switch to a new machine running Windows 10. As previously discussed, it’s too early to get familiar with Windows 11 because of its bugs and known issues; 3- If you work from home, have several kids and live in a house larger than 2,500 square feet, consider upgrading the speed of your router to 1 GB and getting a router with WIFI 6 capabilities. 4- Do not allow your kids to play with mom and dad’s computers but have them use a tablet instead: an Ipad or an Android tablet will minimize the risks of getting infected by viruses and other type of malware. If your kids do their homeworks at home with a laptop provided by the school, make sure that they use a Chromebook instead, which is based on Linux. 5- Conduct periodical security checkups such as, update the operating systems of your machines and enable Multi Factor Authentication whenever possible. 6- Do not use the username ADMIN but customize every username and use non dictionary passwords of at least 8 mixed characters in length. 7- Backup frequently your devices to the cloud and to external hard drives. Remember to unplug the external hard drives once the backup is finished. Do not keep the external hard drives for more than 5 years. I had customers looking for support after that they kept hard drives in the draws of their furniture for ten years and they got mad when the hard drives were not turning on anymore. 8- Do not use AOL as main email provider: aol has too many popups inviting users to install antivirus or run computer scans. Use Gmail or a business email instead that is tied to your phone via Multi Factor Authentication. 9- Never use as your main email provider: Verizon, Optimum or other non Gmail providers: consider instead migrating all your emails to Gmail instead. I do offer email migration services. 10- Do not believe that Macs are more virus resistant than Windows computers: this is a total BS. I saw nasty infections percolating through bad Safari browsers extension that forced me to wipe out Macs and reinstall everything from scratch after that I couldn’t even move my mouse or type anything on the keyboard. 11- Protect your browser through Browser Guard by Malware Bytes: bad actors come through email or the Internet. Please provide your computer with a good antivirus as well. 12- Be careful with your phone: do not click on text messages that contain a link and educate your kids to do the same. As hackers are having harder time getting into computers, they are finding easy ways to get into smart phones instead. Safeguard your phone with a mobile antivirus such as Malware Bytes Mobile Protection. Nowadays computers are more secure than smartphones, that’s why you should be vigilant and pay careful attention to your mobile device and to those owned by your family members. 13- Avoid the common mistake that most people do, which is waiting for the computer to die before getting a new one: it’s much harder to setup a new machine from a dead one than migrating files and settings among two fully functioning computers. In my experience, the life expectancy of a computer is about 4 to 5 years. After that, the heat bakes the capacitors and the computer starts slowing down. 14- Try to avoid playing games in a computer with only an Intel Core I5, 8 GB of RAM and 250 GB hard drive. Today gamers use downloaders to stuff their machines with games that may play in the future. In doing so, they fill up very quickly the main hard drive of a computer that was conceived and built to do light work, such as going to the Internet and check emails. I will write an article about the best specs for a computer that you can build yourself for gaming and video editing without breaking the bank. 15- You don’t have Internet? Do not panic but look at the color of the lights in your modem/router. If they are orange that is the sign of a disruption. However, before calling your ISP, try to reboot it or unplug it for 30 seconds or so. If that did not solve the problem, you may want to call your ISP. A fully functioning router should have all green or white steady lights. 16- If you can’t print on a Windows computer, go to the Control Panel > Devices and Printers and see if your default printer is grayed out. Right click on it and click on Troubleshoot. Wait

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If the Storage in your MAC Laptop is Full Try This

If the Storage in your MAC Laptop is Full Try This I have been called to support a user in Eastchester NY whose MAC 2017 laptop had several issues. Customer could not operate the computer at all: After having retrieved the laptop, I performed the following: 1- I have moved all the pictures located in the desktop to a single folder to make room in the desktop; 2- I have backed them up to a 64 GB USB Flash drive that I gave then to customer at the end of services; 3- I have emptied the recycle bin to gain extra space in the hard drive; 4- I have scanned for viruses with Malware Bytes and fortunately no viruses were found; 5- I then went to the storage manager and looked at the screenshot related to the space taken by the files and the applications such as in the following image: 6- In the recommendations I have deleted the applications that she did not need and I realized also that a huge chunk of the space was taken by the download folder which still contained old 2018 installers of Microsoft Office and other.dmg executables that had been already installed years ago. 7- I updated the operating system: the laptop runs 10.15 which is perfectly fine for a 2017 machine and I highly recommend not to upgrade to more recent OSX released by Apple. 8- Given that the client pays apple Icloud for 2TB of family storage, I gained 10 GB of extra space in her hard drive, by clicking on “Store on Icloud”. As a matter of fact, more pictures and files were moved to the cloud freeing space on her hard disk. 9- Chrome was acting up and in my experience, besides the fact that it slows down the machine, it should not be used in any mac devices. However, as customer uses it as a default browser, I was able to reset it to the factory settings and to apply more security by changing the DNS. 10- I also noticed that Chrome was installed as an image on her machine, which is awkward because every time she was opening it up, the laptop was asking for verifications. I have ejected the image and set it up to run as application instead. After having rebooted several times because of the cleaning process and the update of the OSX, the laptop became slightly faster and more responsive. I consulted with client to let me know that, next time she needs a new laptop, I will send her advice on a computer with more storage.

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Cybersecurity for Small Businesses Part 1

Cybersecurity for Small Businesses Part 1 Cybersecurity is the branch of Information Technology that deals with minimizing the cyber risk by increasing the protection of a business or organization. The actors that play the cyber role are: Cyber and network security should be first of all considered with an holistic approach: if it’s true that the times of simply buying an antivirus are gone, network security is a process that gets improved over time because businesses can not lose the trust of their customers. For example, if a retailer is hit by a breach that provided credit card numbers to hackers, the retailer can regain the trust of its consumers by becoming, for example, a leader in adopting and enforcing new security standards. If an employee clicks on an infected link in a malicious email, who do you think is at fault? The employee or the employer? I would say that first the employer is to blame because I have seen too many cases or businesses running with gmail or aol or hotmail. You cannot run a business with an email generally used by home users because the security implemented for home users is not the same as the security features that are present in a business email. Secondly, a weak email security is the first port of entry into a network for spammers and hackers who constantly scan networks in search for vulnerabilities to exploit. Furthermore, an employer who has taken the first steps towards securing the business emails should also have the IT team train users on how to avoid phishing, spam and spoofing attacks. For example, business email providers such as Microsoft and Google Workspace have specific sections of their admin portal devoted to the topic of the impersonation, which is one of the most successful attacks conducted by hackers. Learn how to recognize spoofing emails by just simply hovering with your mouse on the link and you will realize that the message you have just received is not really coming from the organization you believe just sent you that message. Securing a network means also to establish policies to authorize users and only grant access to the established users. For example, employees are not the only ones who access the network on a daily basis, but vendors and contractors access systems in different ways. It’s up to the IT department to determine the level of trust towards external entities that do business within the main network. At the internal level, users should only have standard computer accounts and should all have multi factor’s authentication and pin numbers enabled for all the software that they are using on a daily basis. A good move is to segment a network: for example, if the main network has the IP range of, with a firewall or a network switch that supports VLANs, the IT people can isolate the main network and put more sensitive devices on another network, such as the one that has different octets, like This way, if an intruder gets into a network, it cannot get into another one because the networks differ from each other. Consider also how mobile devices access the business network: if a BYOD device access the office network via a WIFI, it is recommended to give that device access to a network that has been already segmented, as discussed above. In addition, Mobile Device Management (MDM) is that part of IT security that deals with securing Iphones, Android phones, Ipads and tablets. MDM and VPN should be the way to go to secure a mobile device that connects to the business network. Back to the devices that are enabled in the network, IT department should keep regularly up to date the operating systems and the third-party software. For example, if you run Windows 10 or WIndows 11 updates, you should also run Microsoft Office updates. Enabling automatic updates whenever possible will allow help desk to work on more intensive security tasks. A further step towards reducing risk is the removal of unsupported hardware and software. If there are still machines running Windows 7, consider upgrading the computers to the current operating system and if you still need to have that old machine in your network, put that computer in a segmented network so that its vulnerabilities will not reach newer devices located within the same network.

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Are You Considering Migrating from Windows 10 to 11?

Are You Considering Migrating from Windows 10 to 11? In a previous post, I have recommended to avoid upgrading to Windows 11, but if you are in the circumstance of having a 5 years old machine that still runs Windows 10 and your computer slows down, you may definitely try to purchase a new desktop that already runs Windows 11. The steps involved in migrating between the two operating systems are below: – ON THE OLDER MACHINE RUNNING WINDOWS 10 – ON THE NEW MACHINE RUNNING WINDOWS 11 If you don’t use anymore the computer with Windows 10, remember to wipe out the hard drive with a fresh installation of Windows 10 or you may just remove manually the internal hard drive and call a recycling company to dispose of your old device.

Are You Considering Migrating from Windows 10 to 11? Read More »