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Businesses today are aware of the importance of regularly updating the different software they use to keep these running optimally and protected against cyberthreats. However, they often overlook the firmware of their computers and other devices. At best, firmware is only updated if there’s an issue with the hardware. But it’s actually a good idea to always keep firmware updated, and here’s why.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a basic type of software that is embedded into every hardware component in computers, computer peripherals (e.g., keyboards, mice), printers, mobile devices, and Internet of Things devices. It’s also found in some household appliances and gadgets such as TV remote controls, as well as everyday objects like traffic lights.

Essentially, firmware controls the device it’s installed on, sending instructions for how the device communicates with its different hardware components. It is only compatible with the make and model of the particular hardware it is installed on, and it cannot be uninstalled or deleted.

Why is updating firmware important?

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Security Signals report, firmware attacks are on the rise. These attacks involve injecting malware into computer systems to tamper with the firmware on motherboards or hardware drivers. From there, cybercriminals can do any number of things to the infected computers, including remotely controlling the devices, disabling the antivirus software, exfiltrating data, and blocking access to the devices and the data they contain.

Experts recommend installing firmware updates as soon as these become available to effectively protect against firmware attacks and other threats to your business’s cybersecurity. Users will also enjoy increased speed and enhanced performance with a firmware update.

How to install firmware updates

The method for updating firmware differs from device to device. For instance, you can simply download and install firmware updates on both iOS and Android devices. However, for devices such as routers, you will have to apply firmware updates from the manufacturer’s website or administrative console.

Keep in mind, however, that updating firmware can be tedious and time-consuming. In some cases, a firmware update can reset your devices and restore factory settings, causing you to lose custom configurations on your computers, routers, and the like. And if you fail to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, you risk damaging your systems.

It’s therefore best to leave the installation of firmware updates to the experts. For more information about firmware security and how to safely install firmware updates, or for any questions related to business IT, give our specialists 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

Like it or not, there will come a time when your once lightning-fast Mac computer can no longer meet modern computing demands. When this happens, you’ll face the following dilemma: should you stick to your current Mac computer or purchase a new one? To help you make this decision, we’ve listed several signs you need to watch out for.

Your device can’t support the latest macOS version

Apple releases a new version of macOS every September or October. Typically, Mac models from the past several years are supported. So if your device can’t update to the latest version, it’s a sign that you need to have your Mac replaced.

The latest macOS version that’s currently in public beta is 12 Monterey. Here are the following Mac models that support the update:

  • MacBook (early 2016 and later)
  • MacBook Air (early 2015 and later)
  • MacBook Pro (early 2015 and later)
  • iMac (late 2015 and later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 and later)
  • Mac Pro (late 2013 and later)
  • Mac mini (late 2014 and later)

This means that devices made earlier than those in the list cannot install macOS Monterey. For instance, a 2010 Macbook Pro running Mac OS X Lion cannot support the upcoming version of macOS. Your device is likely obsolete, and while you can keep on using it as usual, you won’t get any new features and its slow performance may cause productivity issues.

You’ve run out of free space

File sizes are constantly growing, which means that they are bound to take up more space in computer hard drives. If your Mac only has 128 or 256 GB of storage space, you’ll find yourself freeing up space for new files often. You have the option to purchase flash drives or external hard drives, but these aren’t built into your system, so the chances of losing them are high.

It’s therefore more ideal to purchase a new Mac instead. Newer versions offer as much as 4TB of storage, which will allow you to store more files in the long run.

Your Mac has poor specs

If frozen screens, slow-loading apps, and poor battery life are already a part of your typical day while using your Mac, then it might be time to replace it.

For instance, the performance of a hard disk drive (HDD) slows down with age, which could cause your computer to load files and programs sluggishly. The same principle applies to your battery. You may experience short standby and usage times, or the device could suddenly turn off. There’s the option of plugging your device into an outlet while using it, but this sacrifices portability.

To mitigate these issues, you can add more random access memory (RAM), swap out the HDD, or replace the battery. It’s important to note that some components are soldered to the motherboard, so replacing them may not be an option. The money you would spend on upgrading your Mac would be better put toward a new machine, which will not only be faster, but also much more reliable.

Your Mac’s hardware is damaged

You need to replace your Mac if it has suffered serious physical damage. This could range from a broken display, damaged hard drives, missing keyboard keys, or nonfunctioning USB and charging ports.

It’s easy to have your device fixed, but it’s not the most financially sound decision to invest money in an obsolete machine when you can buy a new one that will last longer. Also, small issues can become major problems. Let’s say you’re using your Mac with a heavily cracked screen. The device might be usable for a while, but the display might stop functioning anytime, which is a major hindrance if you’re in the middle of something important.

If problems on your Mac are already affecting your productivity, consider replacing it with a newer version that performs much better and has no hardware damage.

You’re experiencing software issues

An outdated Mac can experience software problems such as unresponsive apps, visual glitches, and random shutdowns. If your Mac is running an older version of macOS, it might run into software compatibility issues. For instance, a program may refuse to run because your operating system is outdated.

You can usually fix these problems by freeing up your RAM or storage space. Reinstalling macOS is also a good option. If the problems persist, however, you should consider investing in a new Mac.

It’s important to have a Mac that not only performs well, but also helps you become more productive and efficient. If you want to learn more about replacing your Mac, drop our experts a line today and we’ll be in touch.

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

The dog days of summer are here, and it’s hot out! Homeowners and business owners alike are bracing for their upcoming power bills as they run their air conditioners around the clock trying to keep cool. But for many business owners, it’s not just about keeping your team cool – it’s also about keeping your technology cool.

Every piece of technology you use is susceptible to heat damage. Sometimes they overheat due to internal issues. Maybe they’re processing a lot of data. Or maybe the internal cooling system isn’t enough. But they can also overheat due to external issues, such as high summer temperatures and inadequate air conditioning.

If heat overwhelms your systems, it has the potential to knock out your business. If computers go down or servers can’t run efficiently due to heat, it can be a costly disaster. The average computer is built to work in external temperatures of 50 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Laptops and tablets can handle 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Every business should be aware of just how much damage heat can cause.

For example, heat can damage individual components in your devices. There are records of graphic cards bursting into flame as a result of overheating and heat-related electrical issues. These components are designed to withstand high heat, but they can only take so much.

Heat can also disrupt productivity.

It’s one thing if your business is warmer than usual and you have fans running. It can make work harder. But heat slows down devices. They cannot run as efficiently and, as a result, programs and apps will struggle to run. In some cases, they might not be able to run at all because they require a certain amount of data processing that is negatively impacted by too much heat.

If your systems are disrupted or damaged, you can also lose critical data.

Heat can damage hard drives and solid-state disk drives, leaving you without access to your data. Sometimes, with proper cooling, this data can be recovered, but if the heat and damage persist, the data may be unrecoverable if you don’t have a backup.

What’s the next step?

Every business needs to fully understand its cooling needs. It’s one thing to cool people working in an office. It’s something else entirely to cool a server room. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Does your business have adequate and efficient air conditioning?
  • Does your technology (such as a computer or server room) have adequate air conditioning?
  • Do individual devices have adequate cooling (have employees complained about weird app slowdowns)?
  • On top of this, it’s critical to ask questions about your data security needs:
  • Do you keep all of your data on-site?
  • Is your data protected from natural disaster or outside intrusion (have you invested in cyber security)?
  • Do you have a plan if your data is damaged or lost?
  • Do you routinely back up your data to the cloud or another off-site solution?

You never have to compromise your data or your business. There are countless solutions on the market today to help you protect your most valuable assets – and to help with your technology cooling needs. As you navigate the dog days of summer, remember you have options. A managed services provider (MSP) or an experienced IT services firm can help you determine if your tech is as cool as it should be. They can help you ensure the longevity of your technology and keep your data safe.

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

Your company’s servers will eventually need to be replaced. To conserve and maximize your resources, you need to anticipate the best time to do this, as well as consider alternatives that offer the same — if not better — outcomes for your business.

When do my servers need to be replaced?

This is a difficult question, but there are two factors you will want to consider: age and performance. The useful life of a server is around three years. While it’s not unheard of for servers to function properly beyond year three, relying on them past this point can be risky, as hardware problems may occur more often. This means you will have to deal with costly repairs and possible sudden downtime.

In terms of performance, it doesn’t make sense to keep your servers around until year three if they are slow and too costly to maintain. It’s important to compare how much money you will lose in repairs and downtime versus the cost of buying new hardware.

Do I have an alternative to buying new servers?

Believe it or not, the answer to your server problems might not necessarily be purchasing more physical servers. One solution is to embrace server virtualization. This process allows your servers to be stored and maintained off-site, with all your resources being delivered to your office via the internet.

There are two notable benefits of virtualizing your servers. First, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on new equipment. Second, virtualization is a scalable technology, meaning you only pay for the data capacity you use. For instance, you can have just two and a half servers, if that’s all your business needs. This is in contrast to having physical equipment, which would require your business to either make do with two servers or splurge and buy a third one even if you didn’t need all of that space.

Of course, there are a few things you need to consider before making the switch to server virtualization. One of the biggest issues is security. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable keeping all of your data off-site. While this isn’t a concern for some companies, others may not see this as palatable. There are several workarounds to this issue, including the hybrid option where you keep sensitive data on-site and everything else off-site.

Can I do anything to prevent a full-scale server replacement?

Yes. It’s certainly possible for you to buy some time and give your current servers additional life, but these are short-term fixes, not long-term solutions. Server upgrades are a good place to start if your servers are less than three years old but are performing poorly. Installing additional CPUs or memory may increase server performance at a fraction of the cost of buying new servers.

It’s also possible to extend the life of servers that may have four or five years of wear-and-tear on them via repurposing. Instead of swapping out all of your servers, use the old ones for non-critical processes and purchase new ones to handle critical workloads. This will help you get a better ROI on your technology while avoiding a wholesale hardware purchase, which could cripple your budget.

If you have any questions about your servers and how you can increase their performance, get in touch with us today. We can help you procure new hardware or explore other alternatives such as server virtualization.

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