For most businesses, a reliable internet connection is no longer an option but a necessity. A fast and reliable internet connection makes for more efficient and productive operations. But what do you do when you’re faced with connectivity issues or slow speed? Below are some solutions to five of the most common Wi-Fi worries.

Range constraints
Wi-Fi works via radio waves that are broadcast from a central hub, usually from a piece of hardware known as a router. In order to avoid a weak signal in your office, make sure:

  • Your router is placed in a centralized location and not tucked away in the farthest corner of your facility.
  • Your Wi-Fi antennae are either in a fully horizontal or vertical position for optimal signal distribution.

Note that Wi-Fi range constraints can also occur from interference, so if your office is situated in a highly populated area, try changing your router’s channel.

Slow speed
Despite having high-speed or fiber optic internet, slow load times can still occur for a number of reasons. To eliminate this, try the following:

  • Make sure your router is located in the same room as your computers.
  • Have more routers to better accommodate a high number of connected devices.
  • Limit the use of bandwidth-intensive applications such as Skype, Dropbox, YouTube, and Facebook.
  • Disable your router’s power-saving mode.
  • Create a new router channel to avoid network bottlenecks.

Connection issues
It can be frustrating when the Wi-Fi network shows up on your device but you just can’t seem to connect to it. Before you give up, try these:

  • Determine whether your Wi-Fi connection is the problem or if your internet is down by plugging in your laptop directly into the router via an Ethernet cable. If you get a connection, then your Wi-Fi is the culprit.
  • Reset your router. Use a paperclip or a pen to hold down the reset button for about 30 seconds.
  • Reboot your device.

Unstable connection
Random drops in Wi-Fi connection can happen from time to time. If this has become a constant nuisance in your office, try the following quick fixes:

  • Move your router to a different spot or a different room.
  • Avoid having multiple routers in the same location as they can confuse your device.

Network not found
Glitches in the router can result in your Wi-Fi network not appearing at all. Two solutions that can resolve the problem are:

  • Disconnecting the router from the power source and waiting at least 30 seconds before reconnecting it.
  • Checking to see how old your router is; if it’s over three years old, you’re probably due for a replacement.

When you experience Wi-Fi issues, these tips will help you avoid serious downtime. But if you’d rather have a dedicated technology provider take care of your hardware needs, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Today, Wi-Fi isn’t only crucial for your employees to get work done; it’s also a necessary amenity for your office guests. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to set up guest Wi-Fi, and the latter can result in a frustrating experience for you and your users. So, how do you set up your guest Wi-Fi properly?

Never give guests access to your primary Wi-Fi

Giving your guests access to your company’s main Wi-Fi connection might seem like a good idea, but you should avoid this at all costs.

Anyone with a little technical know-how can potentially access everything on your company network, including confidential data. In addition, if any of your visitors’ mobile devices have been compromised, it’s possible that they can transmit malware to your entire network.

Ways to create secondary Wi-Fi for guests

If your router comes with built-in guest Wi-Fi support (you can check this feature through a quick web search), you can use it to create a separate “virtual” network. This means guests will have access to the internet without directly connecting to your company’s primary network.

If your router doesn’t support multiple Wi-Fi networks, you can implement a separate wireless access point that bypasses the rest of your network and connects directly to the internet, thus preventing any outsider from accessing your company’s private data.

Keep in mind that guest Wi-Fi still uses your ISP connection, so you should limit bandwidth usage on your guest network. Visitors streaming videos can slow down your internet connection, which can affect the productivity of your employees. With that in mind, you can even have your employees use the guest Wi-Fi on their mobile devices to minimize the chance of them hogging company bandwidth for personal use.

Remember, your guest Wi-Fi should only provide outsiders with internet access, nothing more. While the proper setup isn’t rocket science, it can be a tedious process. Having said that, if you need a team of experts to take care of it, or if you simply have questions about how else to leverage your hardware for better efficiency and security, just give us a call.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Microsoft has warned Windows users to install an “emergency” out-of-band security patch.

The software giant said in an advisory that a security flaw in some versions of Internet Explorer could allow an attacker to remotely run malicious code on an affected device. A user could be stealthily infected by visiting a malicious web page or by being tricked into clicking on a link in an email.

“An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could take control of an affected system,” said Microsoft.

Microsoft said the vulnerability was under active exploitation, though details of the flaw had not been made public.

More than 7 percent of all browser users are running affected versions of Internet Explorer 9, 10 and 11, according to recent data. All supported versions of Windows are affected, including Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, as well as several Windows Server versions.

Most users can install the patches using Windows Update.

Microsoft also issued a fix for its in-built malware scanner Windows Defender, which if exploited could have triggered a denial-of-service condition resulting in the app failing to work.

The company said no action was required by users to remediate the bug in Windows Defender.

It’s rare but not unheard of for Microsoft to release emergency security patches outside of its typical monthly patching cycle. The company typically releases security fixes in the second week of each month on its so-called Patch Tuesday, but will also release fixes for significant vulnerabilities under active exploitation as soon as they are made available.

Homeland Security warned in its own advisory urging affected users to install the patches.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechCrunch.com  SOURCE

Events out of your control can disrupt your business operations. While you can’t necessarily control the unexpected, you can take some precautions to prevent most business disruptions. Here are some things to consider when developing a business continuity plan (BCP).

Backup your data, applications, and servers

Today, companies are more dependent than ever on IT and data. If these critical components suddenly become inaccessible, there’s little chance your business will survive. Regularly backing up these elements ensures they can be restored quickly in the event of a disaster, security breach, or damage to IT equipment.

In the past, most businesses would create backups on-site and with tape backups, but today more and more businesses are using the cloud, and here are several reasons why:

  • Cloud backups are affordable and cost much less than onsite backups
    Backups can be automated, therefore saving you time
  • Cloud providers usually back up your data to multiple locations (so if one of their facilities goes down, your backups are still safe at another site).
  • Backups can be accessed from anywhere, whether it’s at an employee’s home or at an alternate office.
  • If you need to access them, backups can be restored quickly

Virtualize servers and desktops

When you virtualize your servers or desktops, they can be used at any location – be it at your workplace, home, or a coffee shop in the Bahamas. In terms of business continuity, this is useful in case your main office suddenly becomes unusable due to hostile weather conditions.

Have a backup power supply

No electricity means zero productivity and money down the drain. Having a backup power supply will ensure that when the electricity goes down, your employees can continue working.

A good solution is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), which gives employees a fair amount of time to finish their work as if nothing ever happened. Also, if you have a server room, a UPS will ensure your vital servers stay cool.

Utilize social media

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, most people are on at least one social network these days. And if there is any kind of outage or disaster, social media is usually one of the first places customers, colleagues, staff, and vendors will check the status of your business. So when it comes to business continuity, keep at least one social media account active to keep your customers and followers informed.

Implement unified communications

Unified communication (UC) creates a virtualized communication infrastructure. That means instead of your communication tools – like phones, instant messaging, and video calls – all being stored locally at your workplace, you can access them anywhere. So if your office is inaccessible, employees can still use your phones and other communication tools from their homes. What’s more, UC tools can route business calls to your employees’ smartphones. That means they’ll never miss an important call, even if they’re not in the office.

Keep in mind that these are only the first few items you have to address in your business continuity plan. You’ll also need to consider things like training employees and having a communications plan for informing stakeholders. If you want more advice on these areas or need top-class business continuity tools, contact us today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Unless the computer app is critical for your work, alerts about a new patch update or incoming message can distract you. Luckily, you can personalize your notifications settings on Windows 10’s action center using these three simple steps.

Overarching action center settings

First of all, you should customize your Windows 10 system-wide notifications settings. To view these:

  • Click on the Cortana icon on your taskbar and type ‘Notifications’.
  • Click ‘Notifications & actions settings’.

Here, you can turn off alerts entirely or customize the alerts for core functions such as alarms, reminders, and incoming VoIP calls.

Settings for individual applications

If you want to take a far more nuanced approach to your notifications, there are advanced options to create rules on an app-by-app basis. At the bottom of the ‘Notifications & actions’ setting screen is a section titled ‘Get notifications from these senders.’ By enabling any of the items in this list, you can open a new window full of more graded notifications options. From here, users can specify lock screen, sound, and priority settings for individual software.

You can also adjust the amount of notifications of a particular app in the ‘Number of notifications visible in action center’ setting. To do so, click on the app’s name and select the amount of notifications you’d like to receive at any given time. Although the default amount is three, you can choose to get up to 20 notifications.

Closing the blinds

For users who have no interest whatsoever in the Windows 10 action center, you can banish it entirely. To do this:

  • Open Cortana and search ‘Notification area’.
  • Click ‘Turn system icons on or off’.
  • Toggle the Action Center option to remove the icon from your taskbar.

You can also choose which apps to remove from your taskbar entirely. To do so, click the back arrow to return to the ‘Notification area’ window and choose ‘Select which icons appear on the taskbar’.

If artists have tools unique to their style, why shouldn’t the tools of your trade be tailored to your preferences? Get in touch with us today to speak with one of our tech-savvy specialists about your technology goals to start achieving new levels of productivity and efficiency on your Windows machine today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Are you still using that old computer that is not-so gracefully aging and devaluing? Maybe you are running important programs on older machines with old operating systems since they “still work fine.” While it might still help you get the job done, there may be hidden security risks that can lead to major problems later on.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a basic type of software that is embedded into every piece of hardware. It cannot be uninstalled or removed, and is only compatible with the make and model of the hardware it is installed on. Think of it like a translator between your stiff and unchanging hardware and your fluid and evolving software.

 

For example, Windows can be installed on almost any computer, and it helps users surf the internet and watch YouTube videos. But how does Windows know how to communicate and connect with your hardware router to do all that? Firmware on your router allows you to update and modify settings so other, higher-level pieces of software can interact with it.

 

Why is firmware security important?

 

Firmware installed on a router is a great example of why addressing this issue is so critical. When you buy a router and plug it in, it should be able to connect devices to your wireless network with almost zero input from you. However, leaving default settings such as the username and password for web browser access will leave you woefully exposed.

 

And the username and password example is just one of hundreds. More experienced hackers can exploit holes that even experienced users have no way of fixing. The only way to secure these hardware security gaps is with firmware updates from the device’s manufacturer.

 

How do I protect myself?

 

Firmware exploits are not rare occurrences. Not too long ago, a cybersecurity professional discovered that sending a 33-character text message to a router generated an SMS response that included the administrator username and password.

 

Unfortunately, every manufacturer has different procedures for checking and updating firmware. The best place to start is Googling “[manufacturer name] router firmware update.” For instance, if you have a DLink of Netgear router, typing “192.168.0.1” into a web browser will allow you to access its firmware and update process, assuming you have the username and password.

 

Remember that routers are just one example of how firmware affects your cybersecurity posture. Hard drives, motherboards, and even mice and keyboards need to be checked. Routinely checking all your devices for firmware updates should be combined with the same process you use to check for software updates.

It can be a tedious process, and we highly recommend hiring an IT provider to take care of it for you. If you’re curious about what else we can do to help, give us a call today!

 

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

 

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

 

It doesn’t matter what the size of your business is when it means everything to you. Small business owners are particularly invested in the companies that they have created with their own imaginations, hard work, countless hours and occasionally, their life savings. Being able to protect your business’s computer network can be vital in maintaining a smooth working environment while protecting your data and your customers.

 

Starting and growing a small business takes massive effort, a willingness to take a chance, and financial capital. Many owners don’t believe that they have room in their already tight budgets to spend on their IT support services company but they may be wrong.

 

When considering the option between hiring an in-house IT person or turning to a service provider, it is important to look at the long-term benefits and expenses side by side. With an in-house employee, you are relying on the expertise and experience of only one person and not a network of highly trained specialists. A monthly salary paid to an onsite employee may seem preferable than dishing out for a more complex team to monitor your systems. In actual fact, the amount that is spent on salary, bonuses and health benefits can cost you more than investing in a tailored security plan that meets your business’s needs.

 

A professional IT service provider will work with you to evaluate the type and complexity of plan that will keep you protected and on budget. Each business has individual needs based on not only the type of commerce you are involved in but what your plans are for future expansion. Having a solid infrastructure and security plan that will not only protect your interests but allow your company to grow is vital to keeping things running smoothly on a daily basis.

 

Some of the benefits and services that are provided by professional service providers, like GCInfotech, are listed below. Consider how these services could be of value to your organization.

 

  • Maintenance of network infrastructure
  • Hardware maintenance and support
  • Security management
  • Anti-virus systems management
  • Network and firewall configurations
  • Software maintenance & upgrades
  • Data backup
  • User setup
  • Documentation of changes
  • Disaster Recovery plan management

 

With new technology firmly entrenched in the business world, many companies are finding that nearly all of their business dealings are done in the cloud or on a private network. The risk of system failure or a breach of privacy is an all so real threat in the marketplace today. Investing to a proper degree in protecting your data, customers and the well-being of your business should be a priority for all entrepreneurs.

 

Putting your trust in a professional company with extensive experience, highly trained experts, and a solid back up team that is ready to help is an advantage that every business owner would like to have in their corner. When you work with the best, nothing can stand in your way.

 

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

 

Published with consideration from TechMoran SOURCE

 

Contrary to what you may believe, cyberthreats don’t only target Windows computers. Even small-business users can click a seemingly harmless link and become a victim of a cyberattack. If you don’t want this to happen to you, there are a few simple things you can do.

Check your Privacy Settings

Begin by making sure that your Mac settings are set up properly to keep your information safe. Click System Preferences (the gear icon along the bottom of your screen), then open the Security & Privacy pane, which contains four tabs that allow you to manage different security features. You should do this with an administrator account so the changes affect everyone who uses this computer.

Take Advantage of the Firewall

One of the biggest steps you can take to protect your computer is to enable macOS’s built-in firewall to block unwelcome network connections. Just go to the Firewall tab in the Security & Privacy settings, click on the padlock at the bottom of the screen, and key in your username and password. Then enable firewall by clicking on Turn On Firewall.

To modify its settings, click on Firewall Options just below the Turn Off Firewall button. A dialog box will pop up and you can click on Enable Stealth Mode. Turning on Stealth Mode will make your Mac invisible on public networks (like an unsecured coffeeshop WiFi).
In the Firewall Options, you will also find a list of services and apps that are allowed to receive inbound connections. If you want to add an app or service to the list, just click the ‘+’ button below the list itself. However, we recommend keeping this list as short as possible because any app connected to the list can be exploited.

Set Up a Firmware Password

Nowadays, macOS/Mac OS X automatically turns on FileVault encryption. This means that it encrypts the hard drive by default, and the only way it can be accessed is by logging in. Keep in mind, though, that this feature won’t necessarily save your account in case someone reinstalls macOS/OS X, or when they use a USB memory stick to boot the Mac and possibly remove all data from your hard disk.
To increase protection, set up a firmware password. To do so, restart your computer, and then press and hold down Cmd+R before the Apple logo shows up on screen. You can let go of the keys once the progress bar pops up.
Choose your location and language when asked, then click on the Utilities>Firmware Password Utility menu. Simply follow the instructions here, and make sure to never forget or misplace your password. Forgetting your firmware password can be quite a hassle because only Apple technicians can recover it.
Ensure that your confidential data remains confidential simply by performing minor tweaks on the system settings. It takes only a few minutes of your time to ensure lasting online protection. If setting up a firewall or firmware password sounds a little too advanced for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts.
To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Con artists have created a new method of deceiving Chrome users by freezing their browsers and displaying a security notification with bogus tech-support contact details. Their ultimate goal is to scare potential victims and trick them into dialing the fake hotline number on the screen.

The End Game
The scam works by displaying an error message indicating a bogus security breach incident that renders a browser unusable. These scammers capitalize on the fact that a serious crash can’t be solved by simply closing the site, thereby sending the users into a panic. This encourages them to dial the number listed on the warning message.
On the other end of the line, the scammers would pose as Microsoft or Apple representatives to convince users into surrendering their credit card details to repair a non-existing security issue. The scams are generally carried out through legitimate sites or malicious ads that have been hacked.

The Ingenious Process
This new scam operates against Chrome by corrupting the window.navigator.msSaveOrOpenBlob programming interface, which basically uses it as a form of distraction. The hackers manipulate the browser and forces it to save a random document on a disk repeatedly at super fast intervals that are impossible to notice. After five to 10 seconds, Chrome will be completely unresponsive.

The Easy Fix
To recover, Windows users simply have to open Windows Task Manager (press ctrl + shift + esc keys) and stop the process there. On the other hand, macOS users just need to wait until a system message prompts them to close the unresponsive Chrome tab. Typically, the latter is a more appealing option since users would have the freedom to close only the corrupted page. Manually closing the whole browser means possibly losing unsaved files in any open Windows.
When faced with IT-related issues, you need to determine how you can approach them calmly. The threats in the digital world may be terrifying and intimidating, but causing a panic in your workplace isn’t the answer. Call us as soon as any problems arise, and we’ll help you as soon as we can. We can even hook you up with other security measures to beef up your network security.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment
Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

According to security researchers, a bulk of the world’s computer processors have gaping flaws. The flaws, grouped under the term ‘Spectre,’ affect many critical systems including web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. Here’s a quick rundown of these major vulnerabilities and what you can do to secure them.

What is Spectre?
To understand this unprecedented vulnerability, you need to know some computer chip basics. Modern chips try to speed up their work by storing information related to predictable and repetitive processes. Whenever CPUs perform calculations ahead of time that end up being unnecessary, the data is thrown away into a supposedly secure storage cache.

Hackers can gain access to the discarded data by using malware to create digital backdoors. From there, they can simply sneak in, sift through the private information, and even trick the processor into throwing away even more sensitive information. This is known as a Spectre attack.
Though the exploit is highly technical and difficult to execute, researchers said Spectre affects all modern processors, including those developed by Intel, AMD, and ARM.

How does it affect browsers?
As mentioned, hackers would need to install malware on a device to perform a Spectre attack. One tactic experts found effective is if hackers build a malicious program and embed it on a website. Should anyone visit the rogue website, their browser will automatically run the malicious program.

Once inside, the attacker can use Spectre to gain full access to keystrokes, encryption keys, and login credentials.
So far, there is no evidence of Spectre attacks actively being used to steal data from web browsers, but they are difficult to detect. Experts also predict hackers will likely develop specialized malware now that this information is available to the public.

Is there a way to protect myself?
Fortunately, major browser developers were quick to release updates as soon as the Spectre attack was discovered.

Mozilla also has security features to prevent some Spectre attacks, but announced a full-blown solution is in the works.
As for Chrome, users can expect an update as early as January 23. But for the time being Google recommends enabling the Site Isolation feature, which limits how much access browser plugins have to your computer.

This feature can be enabled by going to your address bar and entering: chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process.
Even though the updates may affect browser performance, it’s a small price to pay compared with having your credit card or social security number stolen.
Like it or not, Spectre is just one of the many threats targeting your web browsers. That’s why you should call us today. We offer expert advice and cutting-edge solutions to make sure your browsing experience is a pleasant and safe one.
To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE