All good things come to an end, and that includes operating systems. This time around it’s Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 r2. As of January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates for these systems. This means that any devices running on these operating systems will become vulnerable to security threats after January 14, 2020.
What You Can Do
We encourage you to begin planning for the upgrade of these devices to a newer, more secure operating system. The sooner you start this process, the easier it will be to ensure that you can:
Have time to determine the most beneficial IT solutions for your business.
Work in the transition period during a more convenient time for you and your staff.
Plan for the expense of the upgrade.
What You Don’t Want to Do
Put it off until the last minute. Something this vital to your business operations and security isn’t something you want to rush or push to the side.
We’re Happy to Help
Here at Think our engineers are ready to help you find the best IT solutions for your business. And with their extensive experience and knowledge, they can help make the transition as smooth and convenient as possible for your business and your staff. To schedule a consultation with a Think engineer, contact us today.
For more information from Microsoft, you can read their information page here.
First things first – what is phishing? Phishing is an email technique used to fraudulently obtain sensitive information. Phishing emails are designed to look like they’re from a brand or institution you trust. They typically prompt you to download malware (malicious software), click on a link that redirects you to a malicious website or enter personal information. This can enable hackers to steal your identity, breach your employer’s systems, and more. The best way to defend yourself against phishing attacks is to identify phony emails before you click on them.
5 Tips for Identifying Phishing Emails
Who’s the real sender? – Make sure the organization’s name in the “From” field matches the address between the brackets. Watch out for addresses that contain typos in the organization name (think amaz0n.com).
Check the salutation – If you do business with an organization, the first line of the email should contain your name. Don’t trust impersonal introductions like “Dear Customer.”
Use your mouse hover – Hover over an email link to see the full URL it will direct you to. Do not click the link – just hover. If the address isn’t where you’d expect it to go, don’t click it. Check all the links – if the URLs are all the same, it’s likely a phishing email.
What’s in the footer? – The footer of any legitimate email should contain, at minimum, a physical address for the brand or institution and an unsubscribe button. If either of these items are missing, it’s probably fake.
Look for other content clues – Does the content have spelling and grammar errors, ask for personal or sensitive information, convey a high sense of urgency and/or privacy, offer incentives through threat or reward, or contain links or attachments? These are all clues pointing toward a phishing email.
When in Doubt, Delete
If something seems off, delete the email. If it’s not fake, the sender will contact you another way or send the message again.
We Can Help…
Think Network Technologies offers IT Consulting services to can help your organization keep systems and information secure. For more information about this topic and how we can support your business, contact us.
Why is it important to monitor server room temperatures?
With temperatures on the rise, server threats also increase. When servers overheat they can shut down. Whether you’re running a huge data center or a server room with just a few servers it is important to monitor room temperature to prevent downtime, loss of productivity and ultimately loss of revenue for your business.
Monitoring your servers’ temperature information is a starting point. However, monitoring the room temperature is a more proactive approach and will add another layer of security to ensure your server never reaches high temperatures. Monitoring the room temperature will provide an early indication if something is wrong, so you have enough time to react early and avoid serious problems.
5 benefits of monitoring server room temperature
Prevent downtime – Temperature monitoring sensors and software will allow you to configure alerts that notify key personnel via email or text message if and when temperatures reach predefined thresholds so that someone can take action. Excessive temperature is one of the leading causes for having to replace hardware, and in most cases, it is easily prevented.
Ensure efficient airflow inlet and exhaust – Placing temperature sensors on the front and back of your server racks will allow you to measure the temperature of the air going in and coming out of your servers. This is important to know to make sure cold airflow is not being mixed with hot air circulating in the room, as well as to ensure hot air exhaust from your servers is within the proper ranges. Airflow sensors can monitor the presence of airflow into your server room and will alert you if it stops.
Reduce power consumption and increase energy efficiency – If you are actively monitoring the temperature in your server room, you should be able to identify trends and baselines. This data should indicate if your AC unit is able to keep up with the load and if there are cost savings to be had. Many times, room temperature will be set lower than necessary to compensate for not knowing exactly how effectively your servers are being cooled.
Server room planning and scaling – Using the data collected from your temperature monitoring sensors, you will have insight into the cooling loads and airflow distribution of your current layout. You can use these insights to plan for the additional heat load of adding new equipment and how to maintain a proper layout for best airflow.
Extend the life of your equipment – Last but not least, maintaining the proper server room temperature range will help extend the lifespan of your equipment by preventing excessive temperatures going unnoticed and causing unnecessary wear on your equipment. Short spikes of excessive temperatures can reduce reliability and can lead to hardware failure months later.
How do you monitor your server room temperature?
There are many vendors that offer physical sensors for measuring not only temperature, but also humidity, power, flooding and more. Think Network Technologies can help your business implement a server temperature monitoring solution. Contact us today to learn more.
November 7th, 2017 Posted by MarketingDevices
0 thoughts on “Buying A Laptop-Tablet 2-in-1 Computer?”
Best Tablet/Laptop Hybrid for Small Business?
If you’re “of a certain age,” you might remember the classic candy commercial with a chocolate bar and a jar of peanut butter. The chocolate bar ends up stuck in the peanut butter, and the kids argue over whether the chocolate is in the peanut butter, or whether the peanut butter is on the chocolate… Either way, I think we can agree it’s a delicious combination, right?
Speaking of fantastic combinations… Recent trends in technology are making the tablet-laptop computer hybrid an increasingly common piece of equipment in many small businesses. The hybrid is powerful enough to do office-based work, but lightweight and portable enough to be carried along for conferences, to job sites, and on sales calls. Whether you use it mostly as a tablet or laptop doesn’t really matter. The big deal is that it can serve either function, depending on what you need.
You may be wondering whether your business should incorporate some laptop/tablet hybrids into its tech arsenal. Here are some tips to help you make a decision on what’s the best 2-in-1 laptop might be best for your business.
Flexible and Powerful
These hybrid tablet/laptops truly offer the best of both worlds, with no compromise involved. Find out why they’re the fastest-growing category in laptops and which models are the best fit for your business with our 2-in-1 buyers guide.
Why should I choose a 2-in-1 laptop?
The most obvious benefit of combining a laptop with a tablet is that you don’t need to buy both. Not to mention only having to bring one device to and from the office and freeing up your power sockets.
The hybrid approach has other advantages too, depending on what you need your business laptop to do.
If you’ve dreamed of owning a tablet that’s fast enough to handle your workload, 2-in-1 laptops offer the high performance and full operating system of a laptop in slim tablet packaging. There’s nothing a standard laptop can do better than a range-topping 2-in-1.
You’ll also benefit from a true ergonomic keyboard (detachable or reversible) and have a full set of I/O ports to play with.
2-in-1 tablets will generally be a little heftier than your iPad, but they’re a lot lighter than standard laptops if you’re commuting.
If portability is a factor, there are some very light options on the market. For example, models with detachable keyboards are a sure way to lighten your load.
With a work tablet, you won’t have to keep switching your brain between touchscreen mode and traditional mode, or wish you could quickly swipe rather than having to reach for the mouse every time. Touchscreens aren’t exclusive to tablets, of course. But if you’ve used a touchscreen laptop before, you’ll know it doesn’t feel quite right. 2-in-1 laptops offer the true tablet experience.
And let’s not forget one of the greatest advantages tablets have over their laptop counterparts: most 2-in-1s have long-lasting batteries.
How much should I spend?
Cheap 2-in-1 laptops like Chromebooks can be bought for as little as US$300. But like any tech investment, you get what you pay for.
For most business needs, you’ll more likely be looking above US$600 for a good all-rounder, or over US$1000 for premium performance and a 1TB hard drive.
If you’re considering a higher end model, you won’t be paying much more for a 2-in-1 laptop than you would for an equivalent standard laptop.
Need More Advice?
We can help you navigate the options and price points of 2-in-1 laptop/tablet computers. Get in touch and let’s get started! Email email@example.com or Contact Us.
Communication is about more than simply being able to dial or send a message to employees or partners. It’s about being able to message, meet, and call instantly in a way that strengthens relationships and increases productivity.
And now communication needs to be agile. Mobile. Collaborative. All thanks to mobile devices and evolving innovations in infrastructure and applications for voice, video, messaging, and content sharing. The Cisco Spark service makes instant communications and live meetings possible through a deeply integrated set of industry-leading communications tools for an unmatched collaboration experience—that only the Cisco cloud can deliver.
Message. Meet. Call.
With the Cisco Spark solution, you can:
• Message: Business messaging lets you prepare, share, and iterate on content. Enjoy 1:1 and team messaging in virtual rooms with persistent content and context for team interactions. Cisco Spark services break down communication barriers and make it incredibly simple to work with anyone.
• Meet: Connect teams and meet customers easily with the added benefits of messaging and content sharing before, during, and after the meeting. It’s easy to schedule or join a meeting at the main office, a branch office, at home, on the road, or from a room-based video system. Every meeting is video-centric. Users shouldn’t have to think about what type of conferencing they need before scheduling; after all, it’s just a meeting.
• Call: The service enables voice and video communications via mobile, desktop, and room-based devices. Simply connect your existing PSTN1 services to Spark to enjoy one-touch directory dialing and join meetings from anywhere on any device. Mobile users get features such as single number reach, single voicemail service, video services, and the ability to seamlessly move between devices during a call.
Designed for the Way You Do Business
The Cisco Spark service delivers a powerful set of communications services for all the ways you need to communicate. Maybe you’re a startup business with an ad hoc solution, or you have an outdated key system or PBX and want to upgrade. Perhaps you’ve already made the move to IP or deployed a cloud-based service and want to expand your capabilities even further. Cisco Spark will take your communications to the next level by providing the benefits of a complete business collaboration service for everyone in your company: one service, one experience, for everyone.
The Next Step
To learn more about how the Cisco Spark service can transform your communications, please contact the Think specialists to schedule a demo! Contact our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to schedule or hear more about the Cisco Spark Board.
It only takes one unsecured device that’s plugged into your network to lead to a network breach. That’s why it’s so important to have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.
BYOD has its pros and cons, and organizations that already have a policy in place or are contemplating implementing one need to tick some boxes to make sure it runs as smoothly and securely as possible.
BYOD has obvious advantages for staff who like the convenience and familiarity of working on their own devices. It could also lead to productivity gains, as users have an affinity for their own personal devices and how they use them.
Personal laptops, tablets and smartphones are usually more cutting edge, given that companies often don’t update their desktops for years on end. BYOD also allows staff to carry only one or two devices around with them, rather than different ones for work and personal use.
BYOD policies can save organizations money, as they don’t have to spend as much on their IT hardware while allowing workers increased mobility.
Having said that, BYOD practices are not free from security concerns. More and more mobile devices provide greater scope for ways to breach a company’s IT infrastructure.
Some employees may not be as stringent as they should be about the information they bring home that could be highly sensitive or confidential. Once they take it out of the office, there’s nothing stopping them from sharing it across devices, networks, emails or even showing it to their family and friends.
Disgruntled employees about to walk out the door pose an even bigger threat. If they are leaving to work for a competitor, BYOD makes it easier for them to take intellectual property with them. Alternatively, if an employee uses a smartphone to access the company network then loses it or it’s stolen, an unauthorized person could retrieve unsecured data on the device. Staff can also sell their devices or give them away and forget to wipe company data beforehand.
And the Essentials
A good BYOD policy should contain two critical components: an application or software program for managing the devices connected to your organization’s networks, and a written agreement that clearly states the responsibilities of employers and staff.
For example, IT departments wishing to monitor the use of personal devices must ensure that they only monitor activities that access company information.
Software developers and device manufacturers are constantly releasing security patches and updates for threats such as viruses and malware. BYOD policies should have the necessary processes in place to automatically apply those patches across all the agreed BYOD devices.
Additionally, organizations can simplify the whole process by limiting the number or make of devices allowed in their BYOD programs and the systems they have to support. Supporting a broad range of devices could become an administrative nightmare.
The IT department should also have permission to remotely wipe the device if it’s lost, the employee leaves or if it detects a data breach, virus or any other threat to its infrastructure.
BYOD should satisfy employees and management alike, as long as there’s a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities. Before settling on the best BYOD policy for your organization, it’s worth getting input from HR, IT, finance, legal and anyone else who has a stake in the matter.
Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at email@example.com if you would like our recommendations or a quote.
Microsoft officially released its significant update to Windows 10 on April 11th. The company is calling it the “Creators Update”. In comparison to the monthly updates that usually only contain minor changes and security fixes, the latest update has new features that are large and small.
BUT, before you go through with ANY update, be aware of the risks that you might be taking by completing the install. You may have insufficient hardware, driver problems, and application incompatibilities to name a few.
Please consult your IT support provider to hear if Windows 10 Creators Update is right for you. We always recommend time for any major update for bugs to be worked out. You don’t want to be the guinea pig. If there is no pressing need for the update or you do not require any of the new features or improvements to perform your job, hold off.
But, if you are interested, here are the top things to know about the Windows 10 Creators Update.
1. Phased Approach
The Creators update was released on April 11th, so why hasn’t your computer updated yet? Well, Microsoft is taking what it calls a “phased approach”. Which means that not everyone will get the update right away. Newer devices will receive the update first, then updates to other devices based on feedback Microsoft receives from the first group. This process will be repeated over the next several months according to Microsoft’s Director of Windows Servicing and Delivery, John Cable.
But, you can manually update via the Software Download Site if you can’t wait. The suggested way is to take advantage of the Update Assistant. In order to do so, go to the Software Download Site and click the “Update Now” button. While it’s manually updating, the privacy settings will appear as part of the first experience with the Creators update.
2. Mini View
The Mini View feature creates a compact overlay on your computer. Which means certain apps can go into picture mode in the corner of your screen. You can stream videos from YouTube, make a video call, keep a timer on top or place many other apps in the corner while you multitask with the rest of your screen. The minimalist mode can potentially be very useful for the multitaskers out there.
3. Night Light
If you’re wondering why you can’t sleep at night it might be because of the blue light coming from your screen. There’s already software out there such as F.lux that filters out this blue light. The Creators update will add a new function called the “Night Light” which will filter blue light, so you can sleep with ease. To activate Night Light, open the Settings app and then go to System > Display.
4. Microsoft Edge
Once the Creators update goes into effect for you, you’ll notice that the Edge browser is faster with better functionality. Utilizing Google’s own benchmark tool, the updated Edge browser scored faster than Chrome for loading and rendering sites. It also blocks more malware and phishing sites than Chrome with the SmartScreen Filter (read the report from NSS Labs). You’ll be able to manage your tabs easily in the Edge with the ability to organize and preview tabs without leaving your current page. You can set aside open tabs with one click and reopen them with the “tabs you’ve set aside” section. The Edge becomes an e-reader and it has the basic functions to adjust the font and text size on e-books, set bookmarks, search for terms and other features you’d expect from an e-reader.
5. Game Mode
If you’re one of the 150 million Americans that plays video games then this new feature should interest you. The Creators update includes “Game Mode” which allows Windows 10 to adjust its resource allocation logic to prioritize a game when it’s running. The update will also have a service called “Beam” that lets you take screen caps or videos of any game you are playing, load them up to your channel, and share them. Own an Xbox? Lucky for you because you can buy a game once, then play it on your Xbox or your computer. Now you can take your gaming on the road easily!
6. Improvements to Defender
A central dashboard for monitoring the security of your machine will be added to your computer called the Windows Defender Security Center. Your new dashboard will allow you to view your antivirus protection as well as your network and firewall protections. It also includes health & performance, application and browser controls, and family options. You can read more about it here: Introducing Windows Defender Security Center.
7. 3D Paint
Here’s an upgrade everyone can get excited about: the new app, Paint 3D! You don’t need artistic creativity to use Paint 3D according to PCWorld’s Mark Hachman. People that don’t have any creative skills can actually create stunning 3D scenes. When you’re done making your work-of-art you can send it off to a 3D printer!
8. Dynamic Lock
Are you the type of person to hit Win + L to lock your computer every time you walk away? Well, here’s a handy new option for you, the Dynamic Lock. Pair your phone with your Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth and when you walk away with your phone for more than 30 seconds, your computer will lock and shut off the display. Users can setup the Dynamic Lock option within Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options.
9. Windows Ink
According to Microsoft, the Creators update will allow users to directly write on Word documents, web pages in Edge, maps, photos and videos. The update will also add an ink toolbar with a tilt pencil effect and a protractor tool.
10. Windows Themes are Back
The Creators update will include new system colors and themes which will make your Windows 10 PC even more personal. You can head over to the Windows Store to choose from a large variety of pre-made themes.
There are many other features on the Windows 10 Creators update. Such as mixed/augmented reality, 4k monitor support, new sharing options, scheduled update installs, “My People” feature and much more!
We hope you found these tech tips handy! Remember, it’s not just about technology solutions. It’s about partnering with our clients to drive business success.
Let the Think specialists help you and your company! Please contact our sales team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like our recommendations or a quote.
Time is money for most business professionals and you want to utilize every second that you have. It may not seem like a big time saver, but when you add up all the times you have to move your hand away the keyboard so you can “select”, “copy”, “paste” or any other similar functions, it starts to add up quick.
Memorize Keyboard Shortcuts
Memorizing shortcuts can be intimidating at first, but remember you don’t need to know every shortcut. You only need to learn and use the ones that are most important to you. Check out the shortcuts below to greatly improve your productivity.
Copy, Paste, and Other General Shortcuts
Press this key
To do this
Ctrl + X
Cut the selected item
Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert)
Copy the selected item
Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert)
Paste the selected item
Ctrl + Z
Undo an action
Alt + Tab
Switch between open apps
Alt + F4
Close the active item, or exit the active app
Ctrl + F
Search for a word within a web page
Rename the selected item
Search for a file or folder in File Explorer
Display the address bar list in File Explorer
Refresh the active window
Cycle through screen elements in a window or on the desktop
Activate the Menu bar in the active app
Alt + F8
Show your password on the sign-in screen
Alt + Esc
Cycle through items in the order in which they were opened
Ctrl + Y
Redo an action
Ctrl + A
Select all items in a document or window
Ctrl + D (or Delete)
Delete the selected item and move it to the Recycle Bin
Ctrl + R (or F5)
Refresh the active window
Ctrl + Shift + Esc
Open Task Manager
The Shortcuts Don’t End There
There’s plenty more shortcuts then what we showed you above. If you want to check them out then you should follow these links:
Matt Glick and Prudencio Dimas from Think have over three decades of experience in the IT world working side by side with organizations, both large and small, to understand and resolve ongoing IT challenges. Their understanding of network infrastructure, design and implementation was offered to participants of the TechKnowledge 2017 Conference in a Town Hall forum. Topics such as servers, backups, disaster recovery, cloud storage, Office 365, virus protection, malware, ransomware, and security best practices were all discussed. Matt and Prudencio fielded a range of questions but it was obvious what was the most concerning topic among the group.
Ransomware and backups.
The duo talked about best practices when it comes to backups and ransomware for almost an hour with the group. It was a very productive session and their favorite question came from Diana Murray, Manager for ASAP Accounting & Payroll, Inc. Ms. Murray asked “What are the three most important elements of IT when talking about small business?” We thought we would summarize their answers below.
1. A layered approach to security:
Matt brought up an older Blog post Think published entitled “Is Your Security Layered Like Your Bean Dip?” It says you should layer your security like a seven-layer bean dip. Just one layer at the bottom, and it just not as enticing. But when you get all those layers, working together, it’s an explosion of excellence! And even more important, the layered security approach tells us the more hoops a hacker has to jump through, the less likely they are to be successful.
2. Backups are key:
Matt posed a few questions business owners should consider when it comes to their backups. What kind of backup you have is just as important as what is being backed up. Is it file level backup? Do you have a full image? And, what is your expectation of downtime in the event that you do deal with a server crash? And, he reminded everyone there to be realists. Emergencies happen. So, anticipate that they will happen and be prepared. Practice. Exercise your backup recovery process; test and retest it, so you have time to work out the kinks.
Prudencio explained IT standardization is a strategy for minimizing IT costs within an organization by keeping hardware and software as consistent as possible and reducing the number of tools you have that address the same basic need. It may take the form of ensuring that every computer has the same operating system, or of purchasing hardware in bulk so that every PC in your office is the same make and model. By streamlining your IT infrastructure, you can simplify decision making and minimize purchasing and maintenance costs.
Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce for organizing this event for our community and for asking Think to be involved.
There will be a variety of breakout sessions throughout the day which include topics about cyber security, email marketing, makerspace, web policies, digital marketing, facebook marketing, hackathon, and much more. Think Network Technologies is a sponsor for the Tech Conference, but they will also be a presenter for one of the breakout sessions.
Matt Glick(CTO) and Prudencio Dimas(Solutions Architect) will be holding an “IT Town Hall” on March 15th from 2:30 – 3:20p in the Silverton/Purgatory room at the DoubleTree Hotel. You’ll be able to ask Think’s senior engineers all your business tech questions about servers, backups, disaster recovery, cloud storage, Office 365, virus protection, malware, ransomware, security best practices, and IT policies.
As CTO of Think Network Technologies, Matt manages network operations, business development and provides guidance to the technical team. He brings more than 18 years of experience delivering technology solutions to regional private and public sector accounts. Matt has a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology and Environmental Science from Fort Lewis College. He started his career in Seattle, where he worked for a corporate consulting company and got his start in systems administration. He pursued further education at Colorado Mountain College for Microsoft Server OS, Directory Services and Architecture; completing MCSE, MCSA and MCP certifications. He also completed the Cisco CCNA, CCDA and CCNP certification coursework while being employed as a network administrator for a school district in Roaring Fork Valley, CO. In 2002, Matt returned to Durango to start his own venture, thus the inception of Think Network Technologies. His understanding of network infrastructure, design and implementation has benefited Think’s customers in finding solutions to fit the business requirements in both smaller and larger environments.
As a Solutions Architect at Think, Prudencio plays a role in nearly all phases of the IT service delivery life cycle, from the initial consultation and needs assessment, to implementation and ongoing solution support. Prudencio got his start as an intern while earning an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology. Prudencio is well rounded with experience ranging from small computer repair shops to networks of five thousand plus endpoints. His primary focus is on windows systems administration and he carries certifications in Microsoft and Cisco technologies. In 2012, Prudencio left the IT world behind for 6 months of world travel. When he returned, an opportunity with Think brought him to Durango where he works side by side with businesses large and small to understand and resolve ongoing IT challenges.