FBI’s Temporary DNS Servers shut down today; Are You Prepared?

News, Securityon July 9th, 20123 Comments

Temporary Servers Cut Off Any Day Now; Are You Prepared?

Maybe replacing infected servers with clean, though temporary, ones was a mistake on the FBI’s part. Many, including executives at large enterprises, have taken their sweet old time about having the DNSChanger malware removed from their computers. According to an article on the Internet Identity website, as of Jun. 28, 2012, approximately 12% of Fortune 500 companies throughout the U.S. remained infected. Well, come Jul. 9, 2012, if those same companies remain infected when the FBI shuts down the temporary clean servers it had provided so that people could retain Internet access until they found a way to eradicate DNSChanger from their systems, those Fortune 500 companies – and anyone else whose computer remains infected – will lose that access completely.

 

Back in November 2011, the FBI began warning people about the DNSChanger malware that allowed Estonian-based hackers to gain control of people’s computers and redirect close to 600,000 unsuspecting victims to websites with bogus software or money-making advertisements. Two “symptoms” of the malware include a sluggish Web browser and an inability to update, activate or install security software.The FBI used government servers to help people with infected computers retain Internet access; however, the FBI never intended for this to be a permanent solution. It was a temporary fix that will expire on Jul. 9. Anyone who hasn’t rid his computer of the DNS Changer malware by then will no longer have access to the Internet.

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photo by: Ronnie Garcia

Why Virtualization is a Good Idea for Your Small Business

Managed Services, Techon June 18th, 20121 Comment

Large enterprises have hundreds, thousands even millions of clients and scores of data that could require dozens of servers to store them on. So, it’s easy to understand why executives at large enterprises embrace server virtualization. But a business doesn’t have to store data by the terabyte to benefit from virtualization.

Why Virtualization is a good idea for businessOne thing is certain; there are plenty of managed IT services providers (MSP) out there that can help you get started should you choose virtualization for your small business. Since most MSPs are small businesses, their teams have a unique understanding of what small-business owners need to run their businesses efficiently.

What is virtualization?

Virtualization is a virtual – as opposed to actual – version of something like hardware, software, an operating system or network. With virtualization, special software is used to allow a server, for instance, to run several operating system images simultaneously.

Server virtualization provides a small business with almost unlimited storage space. One server can be “divided” to accommodate multiple tenants each in its own virtual compartment. Since small businesses rarely require the amount of storage space that large enterprises do, server virtualization could go a long way toward helping a small-business owner get the most of the servers he already has on site.

Let’s look at some of the ways that server virtualization could benefit your small business.  read more

photo by: Bert Kaufmann

Is the iPad Useful For Business?

Newson June 27th, 2011No Comments

Some businesses have jumped on the iPad wagon and are finding creative ways to use the iPad. For example, the Global Mundo Tapas restaurant in Sydney, Australia uses the iPad as an interactive menu. There’s a budget airline, Jetstar Airways, using the iPad for in-flight iPad :)entertainment, rented for $10 a flight. A luxury sedan by Hyundai comes with an iPad instead of a user manual. Other than these extreme cases, how can an iPad be used to increase productivity or convenience by the average business owner?

Conventions and Workshops
Do you travel to conventions and workshops for your business? Many people bring their laptop to these events. While laptops are of course very convenient compared to a desktop pc for traveling, the iPad weighs less and could be even more convenient if you’re traveling from room to room at a convention or workshop. These events are also often designed for networking – so you’re not just sitting at the table all day, glued to your laptop. The smaller, 2 pound iPad could be slipped into your purse or a small bag while you walk around the room, or even carried in your hand for easy access as needed, but without being cumbersome. read more

Troubleshooting Network Connectivity – Part 2

Newson April 10th, 2011No Comments

This is part two in this series for troubleshooting your network connectivity. Confirming the connectivity with the Internet was the focus of the first three steps in our process. We now continue with the remaining steps to help you discover what the problem with your Internet connection might be.

network cables

1. Check functionality. Once the network cable has been confirmed to be working correctly, we need to see if the router is working correctly. Since you have already unplugged and re-plugged the router in and rebooted both it and your PC, that should have taken care of any automatic configuration issues that might have become hung up. High speed Internet providers can change the network address (also called the IP address) of your router at any time. This usually requires a re-boot of your router (and sometimes of your PC) in order to pick up that new address and begin communicating. Also, there are other network addresses that are used to get outside to the Internet that are automatically configured as well, but we will deal with those in a later step.

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Troubleshooting Network Connectivity – Part One

Techon April 3rd, 2011No Comments

To most computer support persons, having problems connecting to the Internet via a home router and a high-speed connection is not a major issue. However, for those who do not understand some basic technology concepts, solving connectivity problems will be a struggle. The following will give you some tips of where to look for network connectivity problems and how to perform some basic trouble-shooting tasks.

Entropy ≥ Memory . Creativity ²

Most of the initial steps of this process are common-sense and incredibly basic, but you would be surprised at the number of calls to help desks that are solved simply by having someone turn on a power switch or plug in a cable to a device!

1.Check the power. Make sure that the power is turned on to your router and that you can see some visible signs of that power on the front of the unit. Usually green or yellow lights flash or stay on constantly when the unit has power. If you do not have any of those, check the electrical outlet for power. Plug in a radio, clock, lamp or other device to see if the outlet is ‘live.’ If so, continue on to the next step. If not, check your electrical box to make sure that your circuit breakers have not tripped because of an overload or other electrical issue. read more

Eight Ways To Keep Your Small Business Secure

Newson February 19th, 2011No Comments

If you own and operate a small business, lowering costs is an important part of keeping your company in the black. Cutting costs on your IT budget could inadvertently compromise your company’s security. Even though small businesses may not have all of the resources that large corporations do, they are still just as vulnerable to the same security threats. Here are ways to help secure your small business:

Purchase Anti-virus SoftwareSafety Guidelines
Every computer is vulnerable to the wide variety of viruses, trojans, and worms that are on the Internet. These malicious software programs can do anything from damage your computer and files to steal your password and other important information stored on your computer. Purchase a good anti-virus software program and make sure that it is always up to date. Also, check to see that your anti-virus software checks for spyware, adware, and any other type of malware that could be hiding on your computer. read more

How Managed Services And The Cloud Improve Your Business

Business, Cloud, Managed Serviceson October 21st, 2010No Comments

Small business owners who are not already on board the “cloud” may be missing out on a great opportunity to improve their business operations as well as profitability. Cloud computing has changed the landscape of business dramatically in the past few years. In order to reap the most rewards from technological advances, it is important first for business owners to understand what they are dealing with and how new technologies can improve the functionality of their business.

What is cloud computing?

To better understand this concept you must only turn to the Internet. How the Internet is used has changed greatly over the years and in terms of business, any programs or services that you use via an Internet connection could loosely be described as a cloud service. Cloud computing allows you to utilize software and services without having to run the servers or software in house. These outside vendors run the software and servers, making it possible for you to pay attention to what is most important, running your business. Examples of cloud computing services that are commonly used by businesses today include; Salesforce.com which offers programs to aid sales staff in tracking customer information and data storage backup services such as those offered from Amazon.com. read more

Saving Money With Proactive IT Services

Business, Managed Serviceson April 16th, 2010No Comments

Every dollar a small business spends needs to have an immediate and quantifiable return. This is especially true for critical services such as I.T. support. If you are one of the millions of small businesses that depend upon your technology to keep your business running, proactive Managed Services will save you money, improve your efficiencies and reduce your downtime.

The Solution

With the advent of new monitoring tools and the ability to remotely deliver help desk services to small businesses all over the world, Managed I.T. Service Providers have developed proactive maintenance plans for their clients that maximize their upHang Glidertime and reduce I.T. costs over time. By implementing newly available automated processes, systems can be patched and updated overnight without the need for onsite visits, or disrupting an organization’s work day.

In addition, remote help desk tools and technology allow Managed I.T. Service Providers the ability to react immediately and assist users when they experience day-to-day problems, without forcing them to wait for an on-site service call.

Forward-thinking Managed I.T. Service Providers are also implementing proactive remote Network Monitoring tools and services, which evaluate the performance of systems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and alert these Service Providers of potential issues before they become work-stopping problems for their clients. read more

Create a Basic Businesses Disaster Recovery Plan in 4 Steps

Backup, Businesson March 23rd, 2010No Comments

Loss of data is a common problem for businesses. Fortunately, it’s a problem that can easily be avoided with the correct preparation. Mt. San Miguel is on fire.  San Diego County wildfiresWhile devastating amounts of data can be lost during catastrophes like hurricanes, the September 11 terrorist attacks, fires and floods – it doesn’t take such large events to cause a business to lose important data. It can be as simple as dropping a laptop to the floor, or a power surge that results in burning out a storage device. If you don’t have your crucial data backed up, even a small situation can turn into a disaster.

If you still think natural disasters are the leading causes of data loss – and that the chances of it happening to you are pretty slim, take a look at the results from a study by Strategic Research Corporation of the leading causes of business continuity and disaster recovery incidents:

  • Hardware Failures (servers, switches, disk drives, etc) – 44%.
  • Human Error (mistakes in configurations, wrong commands issued, etc) 32%
  • Software Errors (operating systems, driver incompatibility, etc)14%
  • Viruses and Security Breach (unprotected systems are always at risk) 7%
  • Natural Disasters 3%

Establishing a disaster recovery plan can be done in the following four steps:

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4 Tips For Getting the Most Out of Your Technology Investment

Business, Techon February 23rd, 2010No Comments

Orange Glow
How many times have you purchased new software or hardware, and avoided the help menu or user manual? Experts reason that about 90 percent of all features included with software go unused! Much of this comes down to lack of training for individuals using the technology – they use what they know and need most, and avoid anything that would require study or practice to implement. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance, but with a little motivation you could better benefit from the money spent on technology for your business.

Instead of letting your technology investments continue on underutilized, here are 4 tips for getting the most out of your technology dollars:

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