Where has all my storage space gone? Why isn’t the Windows Update working? How can I play a DVD on my PC? A lot of Windows 10 users are frustrated with these problems and still, they don’t know how to fix them. Let us be your guide. Here we’ve provided the answers to the 6 most popular Windows 10 issues.

1. Decreased storage space

You might not be aware that after the upgrade to Windows 10, the old version of Windows isn’t deleted but is kept in the C:/ drive by the name of windows.old, which eats up a huge chunk of your disk space. Microsoft makes it this way just in case you change your mind and want to go back to your previous version. However, if you’re sure you want to permanently delete it, just follow these steps:
Click the Windows Start button and search for the Disk Cleanup app by typingcleanup. The drive selection box will appear, choose the drive your OS is installed on (the default drive is C:/drive), then wait for Windows to scan your system. Afterward, a box will pop up.
At this point, the system might present you with a list of files to delete, but if that’s not visible, select the Clean up system files option on the bottom left of the window. Windows will then present you with another box with the option to delete Previous Windows Installation(s). Tick the option and click OK, then click Delete Files to confirm your decision.

2. Updates that don’t work

First off, check if you’ve upgraded to the Windows 10 Fall update. If the problems still occur, download and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter, then restart the system and try to update again.
If that still doesn’t work, check that System Restore is configured (see number 3 below) and create a restore point. Type Window+X and select Command Prompt (Admin), type net stop wuauserv and hit Enter, then type net stop bits and Enter. Then open Explorer, go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution and delete its contents including any sub-folders. Restart your PC, open Windows Update and click Check for updates.

3. System Restore isn’t enabled

In Windows 10, the System Restore isn’t enabled by default. To turn it on, go to the Start Menu and search for Create a restore point. The System Properties box will appear. From there, choose the system drive and click the Configure button, then select Turn on system protection. Use the slider to set an appropriate amount of maximum disk space (about 5GB should be enough). Note that the update to Windows 10 version 10586 turns this off again so make sure to turn it back on after you update.

4. Privacy violations

Windows 10 faces a lot of criticism over its data-sharing defaults. We recommend you review them from time to time. To change the privacy settings, go to the Start Menu and go to Settings, open the app and select Privacy. At this point, you’ll see on the left-hand side a list of data such as your computer’s camera, microphone, account information and so on. Turn off the ones that you don’t want Windows to have access to.
If you use Windows Defender, click the back arrow, select Update & Security, then select Windows Defender, see if you’re ok with the default setting that enables Cloud-based detection and Automatic sample submission.
Another privacy issue is Window Wi-Fi Sense, which is initially designed to get you connected to wireless networks more quickly. But if you’re not comfortable with the idea of sharing your network’s wireless credentials among devices you can’t control, you can go to Start > Settings > Network & Internet, then click Manage Wi-Fi settings in the right of the window, tick all of the boxes under For networks I select, share them with my to disable Wi-Fi sense.

5. Windows 10 uses up all the 4G data

Windows 10 uses your internet bandwidth in the background. Follow these steps to stop it from consuming all your cellular data without you knowing: go to Settings and then Network & Internet, select Wi-Fi and then Advanced Options, turn on Set as metered connection. Note that this tip won’t work if your PC connects to the internet via Ethernet.

6. There’s no DVD player app

Strangely, Windows 10 was launched without a DVD player app, which means you can’t watch films on your PC. However, if you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 with Windows Media Center or Windows 8.1 with Windows Media Center, you’ll find a late released DVD app from Microsoft in Window Store for free download. But if you’re not one of the lucky users mentioned above, we recommend you to download VLC Media Player instead. It’s free!

We hope these 6 fixes will help soothe your experience with Windows 10. But while there are some issues you can cover by yourself, others are more complicated and would better be handled by IT experts. Why not call us today? Our staff is here to eliminate your Windows 10 headaches.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Dodge toolbars, browser add-ons and other undesirables when installing free software

We’re sure you’ve experienced it – You download a piece of free software, then open your browser to discover a strange toolbar has been added, your default search provider has been changed, or your homepage has been hijacked. You’ve picked up a PUP, or potentially unwanted program…

These programs are often packed up in software installers – usually for freeware, but sometimes also in paid software. They usually affect your web browser, attempting to direct traffic through routes that will profit their creators. They can also harvest data on your browsing and shopping habits, which is then sold to advertisers.

Avoid installing PUPs

Although undesirable, such programs aren’t viruses and may not be picked up by your regular security software. The best defense against them is care and attention.

Always read each step of the installer carefully and uncheck any necessary boxes (PUPs are almost always opt-out rather than opt-in). If you’re offered a choice between Recommended and Custom installations, always opt for Custom – it’s usually hiding some unwanted browser add-ons. There are a number of applications out there that can help here by unchecking all tickboxes in software installers, and warning you if you are about to install a PUP.

Sometimes, when you install free software, PUPs are part of the deal and you can’t opt out. When faced with the program’s terms of use it’s tempting to just click ‘Next’, but it’s worth taking the time to read them in case the program is going to bring some unwanted friends to the party. In that situation, the best course of action is to simply close the installer and look for another program that won’t impose such programs on you.

It might be worth seeking out a portable version of the software you want to use; by definition, portable programs don’t have to be installed (they are usually supplied in a ZIP archive), so won’t include an installer with bundled add-ons.

If you really want to err on the side of caution, you can install free software in a sandbox to prevent PUPs and malware meddling with your system files. You can do this using a virtual machine, which runs an operating system in a window on your desktop, effectively emulating a second PC.

Remove PUPs

You’ve done your best to avoid it, but your browser has been hijacked by a rogue toolbar and your homepage has been changed. If your antivirus software doesn’t pick up the culprit, and you can’t remove it through the browser’s plug-ins menu, try Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.

It can run safely alongside your antivirus, and can be set to detect PUPs (and PUMs – potentially unwanted modifications), and treat them as malware by flagging them for deletion.

Are you concerned your business’s security isn’t up to par? Need the guidance of a seasoned IT provider who specializes in security? Talk to us today.

Published with consideration from TechRadar. SOURCE

Servers are the heart of most modern SMBs. They host intranetwork data, customer data, and facilitate product delivery. Like any piece of equipment in your workflow, servers need to be carefully cared for in order to keep you up and running. With the strain that most businesses put on their servers, one of the most important maintenance variables is temperature management. Understanding why keeping your servers cool is vitally important and could save you from an expensive crash, troubling data loss or reduced hardware reliability.

How does temperature affect my servers?

Extreme temperature in server hardware can result in different forms of damage. Most SMBs see total failure as the most concerning outcome. A server that completely crashes for any reason results in costly data loss and service interruptions, but the unbiased advisory organization Uptime Institute warns about overheating that doesn’t result in total failure. Every 18 degrees higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, hardware reliability decreases by 50%. This decrease in reliability can be just as, if not more, expensive for your hardware budget in the long run.

Cooling methods can’t just be implemented and forgotten, they must be closely monitored to ensure the health of your server hardware–short and long term. Options for temperature management range from simple low-budget solutions to expensive outsourced alternatives; determining your server management budget will greatly depend on what types of methods you intend to implement at your SMB.

Cooling methods

Which system you use to cool your server largely depends on how much power your hardware is using. The higher the watt, the harder it’s working. It will be easier to determine the scope of your temperature management needs when you have a thorough understanding of your power consumption.

PCWorld advises that simple conduction management is adequate for any equipment operating at less than 400 watts. This means simple solutions like positioning your server away from walls, low ceilings, cable clusters and anything else that can block hot air from dissipating naturally.

For watts between 400 and 2,000, strategic ventilation becomes a necessity. Adding passive ventilation is viable up to 700 watts, but fan assisted ventilation will be required above that up to 2,000 watts. With the increased power consumption, temperatures will rise and air movement needs to be more closely managed. At this stage simple vent and oscillating fans will suffice.

Anything higher than 2,000 watts needs to utilize dedicated cooling solutions. This means air-cooled units to actively reduce server room temperature. Depending on the size and arrangement of the space, a simple self-contained unit may be enough to reduce rising temperatures back into acceptable ranges. However, if you’re not sure, you should schedule a consultation with a vendor to consider more drastic cooling and monitoring methods.

Keeping your servers running at ideal temperatures means smoother data operations, lower hardware budgets and one less thing to worry about at your SMB. As your business continues to grow and develop, keep close tabs on increasing server loads–it could save you from devastating data loss. If you’d like more detailed advice about server management, or have any other questions about your hardware setup, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

If you’re thinking about moving your business information and sticking it in a cloud, here are five overview differences between using a private or a public solution.

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It used to be that getting stuck in the clouds was a bad thing–it meant you were a day dreamer or lacked motivation and goal orientation.

Today, it means something very different. Being in the cloud is about how you store your business data and information–from client files, to sales data to marketing videos. And, at its simplest, there are two types of data storage clouds: public and private.

“Traditional endpoint management and security, which requires installing an agent in every server and virtual machine, is no longer practical in a cloud environment as virtual machines can be dynamically created without any administrative involvement or access,” explains Symon Perriman, Vice President, Business Development at 5nine Software, Inc. “Management needs to be automatic and immediate, and abstracted from the end-user so there is no dependency on the client to configure security, or concern that they will accidently or deliberately disable protection. By leveraging a cloud-based infrastructure with management and security at the virtualization host level, administrators can make the correct decision when evaluating space, flexibility, access, price and security.”

There are a few differences related to price, security and convenience. If you’re thinking about moving your business information and sticking it in a cloud, here are five overview differences between using a private or a public solution.

Space. Private clouds require hardware that your company owns and runs. That means a demand of physical space, as in storage. A private cloud system may also require that where it lives physically–the room–be secure and climate controlled. If your business is already stretched for space or you have concerns about security, for example, a public cloud may be a better option.

Flexibility. By owning your own, private cloud, you have much more control and flexibility over what systems connect to it, what data is on it and how your team interacts with it. While many public cloud services try to offer customizable service options, no menu of options will compare to your own custom designs and features.

Access. The factors in private vs public clouds related to accessing your data are similar to the flexibility points. There’s just no better option for 24/7 access than having your cloud in the building and literally down the hall.

Price. In almost every scenario, a public cloud will be less expensive than buying, storing and configuring your own hardware. Even if you’re thinking about moving a metaphoric ton of data to a shared cloud system, it’s likely still cheaper to use a public provider–even one that charges by data use and storage.

Like all business investment, though, buying your own system becomes cheaper over time. Think of it like the difference between renting and buying. If you don’t have the money up front, renting (public cloud) is the only and best option. But buying (private cloud) is a longer run, better investment.

“If you go down the public cloud path because of the lower entry costs,” Says Jeff Erramouspe, CEO of Spanning, “there likely will become a point where it is cheaper to switch to a private cloud and manage the infrastructure yourself. That point is different for different types of applications, but you should prepare for it upfront by modeling your costs and evaluating the cost structure of your public cloud provider vs. managing a private cloud. Many people run in a hybrid public/private cloud model while making the transition, and some will never give up the public cloud for some functions. But that’s the great thing about the cloud–it’s flexibility.”

Security. The pros and cons of data security in a public vs private cloud are mixed. On the side of a public cloud, big cloud solution providers spend a ton of time and money on security–they are up to date on the latest threats and fixes. And big providers usually have their data on backup to backup servers all over the world, making you less vulnerable to a local power outage or winter storm.

“We find that for common applications and services (such as email, web sites, backup, hosted desktop and hosted VoIP), a public cloud service can meet the needs of most organizations,” says Bill Dykema, ITsavvy’s Vice President. “When requirements start to drive an organization towards a customized offering, or when security or compliancy concerns start to enter the discussion, it often drives the need for a private cloud.”

On the other hand, public clouds are bigger targets for hackers who may not even be after your data. And it only takes one knucklehead from Omaha to violate security and your data could be at risk.

As for the security of private cloud, it’s literally in your hands. On the plus side, your security profile is lower–unless your work for the NSA, it’s unlikely too many people are after your data in particular. And you and your IT pros can set firewalls and protections to fit your needs.

The downside of private, owned cloud systems, as it relates to security is exactly the same. If you or your team messes up, there’s no going back. You won’t have professional IT and security experts on call like a private provide should.

There’s no “right” call on the decision to go to a public or private cloud solution. It will take some real research and time to make the right decision for you and your needs. So shop around, talk to experts and price your different options. While the decision isn’t irreversible, it is important.

Time to Get Your Business into Cloud Computing Services? GCInfotech is your Cloud Computing Company Servicing NYC, CT and NJ. With our IT Support, it’s a simple, cost-effective and totally scalable IT infrastructure that also provides 24/7 support as part of a monthly program. Using the power of the Web, our cloud computing management services provide the IT hardware, software, and data backup you need to keep your your company running safely and efficiently. Contact GCInfotech cloud professionals today.

Published with permission from INC.com.SOURCE

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Cyber Security Myths Small Businesses

We are teaming up with the leading internet security companies to help small businesses resolve to be better about their cyber security in 2015. Experts have repeatedly cautioned businesses of all sizes against the dangers of leaving data unprotected, leading to tightened security measures across the country. Professionals still are not sure they have done everything they can to protect their networks, since many business owners and department managers would never claim to be tech experts.

Small businesses are especially concerned about network safety. Industry publications and blogs are filled with warnings about cyber threats, leaving entrepreneurs unsure what to believe. In all of this, several myths have emerged. To help small businesses discern truth from fiction, here are a few of the most popular cyber security myths.

Our IT Provider Handles That

Many small businesses outsource IT, either to a cloud provider or a local company that handles tech support. Whether IT is handled by an in-house IT professional or one that is offsite, IT can only go so far in protecting your network. In truth, the biggest threat to an organization is its own employees, who engage in risky behaviors like unsafe web surfing, clicking on unsecure email links, and careless password behavior, among other activities.

The truth is, regardless of the resource you entrust with your IT security, the ultimate responsibility falls on your business’s leaders. If an incident occurs, your own staff will be forced to answer to your customers, as well as any regulatory authorities. While some providers accept a certain amount of liability, a business’s reputation can still be damaged.

My Business Flies Under the Radar

Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, seeing them as relatively easy targets. Big businesses take extreme precautions on their networks, making it almost impossible for malicious activity to get through. Realizing small businesses don’t have the resources to invest in heavy-duty security measures, hackers see those business types as prime targets.

It’s important to check your business’s IT security measures and ensure strong encryption is in place. If you’re using cloud service providers, carefully scrutinize each service’s security measures and ensure your data is safe.

Make sure you have good antivirus protection

Invest in a strong antivirus product, make sure the product stays up to date and schedule regular scans of your devices. These products provide critical protection to secure your PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets against viruses, malware, spam and more. It’s crucial to take a look at all of the technology devices that make your small business run, and make sure you have cyber security protection for all. For instance, a recent survey of small business owners found that while nearly all have a cyber security system installed on their desktops (98 percent) and laptops (96 percent) only around two-thirds (65 percent) do so on their tablets, and a little over half (56 percent) on their smartphones.

To keep your business safe, you’ll need the latest standards in data encryption for every data transmission, as well as strict password requirements on your servers. Your devices should be encrypted, as well, to protect against theft and any mobile devices should have remote-wiping capabilities. For additional tips on how to resolve to be better about cyber security in 2015, reach out to GCInfotech to assess your current network security and any potential vulnerabilities.

Cyber attacks are a real concern for businesses today, but it’s important to be able to separate myth from reality. Education is key to protecting your business against an attack and keeping your business and customer data safe.

 

Privacy and security are major concerns for businesses developing a data protection strategy. Ensuring critical data is safely backed up, kept private, and readily available is essential to maintaining productivity and eliminating downtime caused by data-related interruptions or malfunctions. Implementing a data backup plan that meets your privacy and protection needs is a business priority.

Online backup services provide an ideal combination of protection and privacy. Most of them offer a variety of unrestrictive options that encourage businesses to scale plans to fit their specific security, storage space, and pricing needs.

Utilizing a trusted cloud service for data backup promotes heightened privacy and protection for your critical files in a number of ways:

  • Keeping data backups offsite ensures data is protected from physical harm such as theft or natural disasters like fires, floods, etc.
  • Having backups in the cloud allows for remote management and data is able to be restored to any location with internet access.
  • The redundancy used in the online backup process provides the assurance that there will always be a backup available, no matter what.
  • Data is always stored safely using a highly secure encryption process and many services also offer a private key for extra protection.

Some industries are governed by strict regulations and are required to follow specific guidelines for storing and backing up sensitive data. Most online backup services are able to work with individual businesses to ensure they are meeting compliance regulations and mandates. It’s important to do your research before signing up with any cloud service; make certain you know their privacy policies and security procedures. The success of your business can only be improved by taking the appropriate measures to fully safeguard your data. Whether your business is regulated or not, data security and privacy should be a priority in your online backup strategy.

Sources:
Maier, Fran. “Can There Ever Really Be Privacy in the Cloud?” Mashable. N.p., 19 Oct. 2011. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.
Spector, Lincoln. “Is Cloud-Based Backup Safe?” PCWorld. N.p., 22 Aug. 2011. Web. 06 Jan. 2014.

We all know technology is evolving rapidly – at times it can feel like software companies release a new update each week. It can be exhausting to keep up. But when it comes to business, technology is either helping your company to succeed or holding it back from doing better things. To make life easier, here are four ideas on how to use technology to keep costs down and staff productivity up.

Work together from anywhere

With the onset of Cloud technology, it’s now possible for your employees to work easily from anywhere – be it Bangkok, Belize or Boston. With Cloud-based suite products, employees can log on from remote locations and access company files. All they need is a web-enabled device.

Cloud-based technology also makes it easier than ever for your staff to collaborate. While one employee is in a coffee shop in Vancouver and another is at a desktop in your office, they can both be editing the same document at the same time. This makes it easy for your staff to remain on the same page, both literally and metaphorically, which in turn boosts both productivity and profits.

While many SMBs use public Cloud applications like Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote, private pro-level options are available, which come with more security and more features.

Keep all your data in the Cloud

The fact is that searching through spreadsheets for information stored in bloated data sets can be a huge waste of time. By having all your data in the Cloud, all your information will be in one place. So when you’re looking for that critical client receipt for your taxes, you’ll know where it is immediately.

Thanks to its remote access and collaboration possibilities, the Cloud also gives you and your staff easy access to all of your data wherever in the world you are.

Identify bottlenecks and upgrade your technology

Facing the facts about your current technology is key to increasing productivity. Yes we know you love your tablet from way back in 2008. You even named her Susie, after your niece, because they’re both so darn creative. But let’s face it, Susie is old now and is slowing down your business. She’s served you well, but it’s time to upgrade.

And desktops aren’t the only technology that can slow you down. There are also unreliable internet connections, obsolete software and outdated email providers. The list goes on…

The solution is to take a careful inventory of your current IT technology and see what’s keeping your business from reaching its true productivity potential. After you have your list, update your technology accordingly. Then create a plan to regularly upgrade your IT resources, so your employees are never being slowed down.

Outsource your IT

As the old saying goes, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Whether you have a part-time contractor or a fully-staffed IT department, the mere presence of tech staff onsite in your workplace can be a distraction. When you’re focusing on sales or setting up meetings with potential clients, a knock at your door from your IT colleague – because he or she has just discovered a glitch in your system – can take you out of the flow of the task at hand.

On the other hand, outsourced IT departments are proactive in preventing technical issues from popping up in the first place. They’ll fix problems without you even knowing they existed, and without distracting you from your core work. All of which means a great boost to your day-to-day productivity – and therefore profitability.

Want to know more ways IT can enhance your company’s productivity? Contact us today to learn how.

Your old PC may be costing you more than you think

In today‘s era of notebooks, tablets, and smartphones, mobility is a high priority-making small businesses more dynamic and responsive in an on-the-go world.

That reality, however, should not detract from the important role desktop PCs still play in today‘s business environment, delivering more power, more robust upgrade options, and more functionality compared to their portable counterparts.

While large enterprises typically refresh their desktop PCs once every three years, small businesses tend to hold on to their PCs for five to seven years [1]. Older hardware, however, often slows operations and sparks hidden costs. In fact, PCs more than four-and-a-half years old are estimated to cost 50 percent more to support and take 50 percent longer to perform many tasks [2].

So while retaining those still-functioning workhorse PCs purchased during the early-2000s might seem a prudent move, their continued use could be costing you more than you think. Here’s how:

slow-pc-solutionsRevealed Hidden Cost #1: Slow performance

As a PC ages, it slows and struggles to keep pace with current technology and business needs. Applications take longer to load, heat buildup causes Windows, the mouse, or keyboard to be unresponsive. Compatibility issues between older PCs and new software and printers all drain time, frustrate the user, and undermine productivity.

Modern desktops respond to today‘s multitasking, collaborative, and fast-paced business environment with productivity-driving features that allow workers to create rather than wait. New features include: touchscreens, fast-charging USB ports, and solid-state drives that reduce wait times when opening files or switching applications.

Revealed Hidden Cost #2: More maintenance

On average, 42 productive work hours are lost each year while an older computer is being repaired-two times that of a newer model. Annual maintenance costs for an older PC, meanwhile, sit at $561, about the cost of a new, mid-range desktop [3].

New desktops deliver a greater value in the present and the future. Their longer lifespan, platform stability, and increased durability stretch your budget further, and reduce the burden on your IT department.

Revealed Hidden Cost #3: Lower efficiency

Today‘s desktop PCs reflect the modern age with space- and energy-saving features unmatched by their older, bulkier peers, some of which have limited ports or require adapters to accommodate modern needs.

New form factors, such as All-in-Ones and mini desktops, embrace sleek, streamlined construction, reduce wire clutter with integrated components, and adapt to the task at hand. In addition to more efficient use of space, modern desktops also require less energy, as the power needed to perform a task requiring a fixed number of computations continues to fall in half every 18 months [4].

Revealed Hidden Cost #4: Security vulnerabilities

Hackers continue to view small businesses as easy targets, even more so following Microsoft’s end-of-support for Windows XP in 2014. According to Microsoft, existing XP users are “five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses,” which makes moving to a new PC that can support a current operating system like Windows 8.1 the safest play [5].

Some new PC designs include built-in hardware and software security to help protect your devices, identity, and data. Most new PCs come with bundled tools that offer security from the start, with enhanced protection against virus attacks and other security threats, and is designed to help prevent data loss, and reduce downtime.

Doing the math

While those existing desktops had their time and place, the older hardware may now be hampering your team’s performance. Running a quick cost-benefit analysis addressing issues such as maintenance and lost productivity against the cost of new desktops might prove eye opening and inspire action.

With modern business-oriented desktop PCs, your small business can reap the benefits of technology’s rapid innovation with improved productivity, reduced costs, heightened efficiencies, and stronger security to keep the business running at an optimal level.

If you are looking to learn more about the replacement options that are available today, then let GCInfotech be your first call.

[1] Intel, How much is it costing your business to run old PCs?, 2013
[2] The Legislative Budget Board, Review of Replacement Schedules for Information Technology EquipmentJanuary 2013
[3] Techaisle.com, The Ageing PC Effect–Exposing Financial Impact for Small Businesses
[4] MIT Technology Review, The Computing Trend that Will Change Everything, 2012
[5] Microsoft, Windows XP support has ended

Published with permission from HP.com. SOURCE

In late September, Microsoft introduced the next version of Windows – Windows 10. At the announcement event, the company showed off a number of exciting new features that many users have been requesting. While it will be a while before it is released, here is a brief overview of some of the upcoming features you can look forward to.

Why Windows 10?

Windows-10-official-logo1When first announced, many eyebrows were raised regarding Windows 9 being skipped. In the tech world, missing out a number with a sequence is not the norm, yet Microsoft stated that they believe that the next version of Windows will be such a drastic improvement over Windows 8 that calling it Windows 9 would not do it justice. From what we can see of the new system, there really are some drastic improvements, including:

One operating system (OS), many systems

When Windows 8 was released, a slightly modified version of the OS was also released for mobile devices. While this was good news, especially for mobile users, the systems were still largely separate, with different apps, app stores, and more.

With Windows 10, Microsoft has noted that the OS has been designed to run across all systems. This means that different devices will likely have slightly different interaction experiences but the underlying system will be the same. For example, there will be one way to write programs for all devices, one app store, and updates will be applied to all versions of the same app, on all devices, at the same time.

A new, yet familiar, Start menu

Windows 8 was a drastic departure from the familiar Windows desktop layout. For the most part, it was despised by business users, who instead have largely bypassed this layout for the traditional Desktop mode. Windows 8.1 allowed users to boot directly into the Desktop, but one large feature has been lacking: a Start menu.

Windows 10 welcomes it back! As with older versions of Windows, the Start menu will be at the bottom-left of the screen, and pressing it will bring up the familiar menu of programs and options. Only now, the old Tile-based layout has also been merged into this section. Think of the traditional Start menu bar, but with a mini-tile based section to the right that will be customizable.

Everything opens in a window

If you’ve ever downloaded an app from the Windows App store, you likely have noticed that they automatically run in fullscreen mode. With Windows 10, any Windows Store apps will open in window-format, similar to any desktop app.

When apps open you will see the familiar taskbar, along with the maximize, minimize and close buttons. This will make it much easier to work in multiple programs at the same time.

Multiple Desktops

Microsoft Virtual Desktops is a feature that will allow users to create different desktops for different purposes and switch between them quickly and easily. While you will only need to install Windows 10 once, you can have a different desktop setup for say home, personal, and business use all under one user.

Each desktop can display different icons and layouts, but all desktops will have access to the programs installed for that user. Essentially, this will make it easier for business users who also use their devices for personal use or those who need to switch roles at work.

An enhanced File Explorer

File Explorer has been a part of Windows for a while now, and its main function is that it helps you to find your files and folders. In Windows 10, this feature will be upgraded to now search for not only your files and folders, but also to scan the Internet as well. You will also be able to quickly see recent and most popular files and folders, meaning you’ll be more likely to be able to find what you are looking for in less time.

When will it be available?

Microsoft has already released what they call a Technical Preview of Windows 10. Anyone can sign up to download Windows 10 and install it on their computers. We would advise against this however, as this version is incomplete and there will be bugs and compatibility issues.

The company has noted that this current version is really for tech experts to install on secondary computers and test, so business users will have to wait! At the time of this article there has been no actual release date set for Windows 10, but you can probably expect it sometime in early 2015. Microsoft has also been quiet about the price, but rumors are circulating that it will either be free or affordable for users to upgrade to if they already have an older version of Windows installed.

Get ahead of the curve and find out what benefits Windows 10 can bring to your business, by dropping us a line first. Tech peace of mind means the focus can be on creating a successful company instead. Contact us today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. SOURCE

FirewallCartoonWith the ever growing number of security threats faced by businesses around the world, the vast majority of business owners have adopted some form of security measures in an effort to keep their organizations secure. But, how do you know the measures you’ve implemented are actually keeping your systems safe? Here are five ways you can tell if your security measures aren’t sufficient.

1. Open wireless networks

Wireless networks are one of the most common ways businesses allow their employees to get online. With one main Internet line and a couple of wireless routers, you can theoretically have the whole office online. This method of connecting does save money, but there is an inherent security risk with this and that is an unsecure network.

Contrary to popular belief, simply plugging in a wireless router and creating a basic network won’t mean you are secure. If you don’t set a password on your routers, then anyone within range can connect. Hackers and criminal organizations are known to look for, and then target these networks. With fairly simple tools and a bit of know-how, they can start capturing data that goes in and out of the network, and even attacking the network and computers attached. In other words, unprotected networks are basically open invitations to hackers.

Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that all wireless networks in the office are secured with passwords that are not easy to guess. For example, many Internet Service Providers who install hardware when setting up networks will often just use the company’s main phone number as the password to the router. This is too easy to work out, so changing to a password that is a lot more difficult to guess is makes sense.

2. Email is not secure

Admittedly, most companies who have implemented a new email system in the past couple of years will likely be fairly secure. This is especially true if they use cloud-based options, or well-known email systems like Exchange which offer enhanced security and scanning, while using modern email transition methods.

The businesses at risk are those using older systems like POP, or systems that don’t encrypt passwords (what are known as ‘clear passwords’). If your system doesn’t encrypt information like this, anyone with the right tools and a bit of knowledge can capture login information and potentially compromise your systems and data.

If you are using older email systems, it is advisable to upgrade to newer ones, especially if they don’t encrypt important information.

3. Mobile devices that aren’t secure enough

Mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, are being used more than ever before in business, and do offer a great way to stay connected and productive while out of the office. The issue with this however is that if you use your tablet or phone to connect to office systems, and don’t have security measures in place, you could find networks compromised.

For example, if you have linked your work email to your tablet, but don’t have a screen lock enabled and you lose your device anyone who picks it up will have access to your email and potentially sensitive information.

The same goes if you accidentally install a fake app with malware on it. You could find your systems infected. Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that your device is locked with at least a passcode, and you have anti-virus and malware scanners installed and running on a regular basis.

4. Anti-virus scanners that aren’t maintained

These days, it is essential that you have anti-virus, malware, and spyware scanners installed on all machines and devices in your company and that you take the time to configure these properly. It could be that scans are scheduled during business hours, or they just aren’t updated. If you install these solutions onto your systems, and they start to scan during work time, most employees will just turn the scanner off thus leaving systems wide-open.

The same goes for not properly ensuring that these systems are updated. Updates are important for scanners, because they implement new virus databases that contain newly discovered malware and viruses, and fixes for them.

Therefore, scanners need to be properly installed and maintained if they are going to even stand a chance of keeping systems secure.

5. Lack of firewalls

A firewall is a networking security tool that can be configured to block certain types of network access and data from leaving the network or being accessed from outside of the network. A properly configured firewall is necessary for network security, and while many modems include this, it’s often not robust enough for business use.

What you need instead is a firewall that covers the whole network at the point where data enters and exits (usually before the routers). These are business-centric tools that should be installed by an IT partner like us, in order for them to be most effective.

How do I ensure proper business security?

The absolute best way a business can ensure that their systems and networks are secure is to work with an IT partner like us. Our managed services can help ensure that you have proper security measures in place and the systems are set up and managed properly. Tech peace of mind means the focus can be on creating a successful company instead. Contact us today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. SOURCE