5 IT Health Checks To Keep Your Systems Secure

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Category: IT News, IT Support.

You may have read the news that Sony’s PlayStation online store was recently compromised.

It’s news that further illustrates just how important it is to protect data given how vulnerable it can be – even for massive corporations like Sony.

The company immediately said the problem had lasted only two hours and there was no sign of any damage, or more worryingly, data theft.

All of the data stored on our computers and electronic devices can be vulnerable if we are not careful, but there are a number of ways we can go about protecting our IT devices and more importantly – the information stored on them. Here are five of them.

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Is this iPhone alternative the latest "must-have" piece of kit?

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Category: Latest.

You know how it is.

You shut the door behind you and even before you’ve got the key out of the lock, you’re checking your pockets to make sure your mobile phone is safe and sound.

It’s a sad fact, but so true for many smartphone users today who just can’t bear the thought of being separated from their handset – or indeed the urge to stare blankly into a screen at regular intervals.

This could all be about to change, however, with the arrival of the “noPhone”.

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Mid-Sized Business Support

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Category: IT Processes, IT Support, Latest.

Q. Why should IT Support be part of your business strategy?

A. Because your whole business may depend on it!

  • If you sell online through your company website or even just use email to receive orders or send quotes then downtime due to IT failure most certainly means lost sales and revenue
  • Unplanned IT support can be a quite hefty expense you hadn’t planned for!
  • Attempting to secure an IT expert to call out at short notice to fix a serious problem can be a problem in itself.
  • A serious data loss incident could put you out of business altogether
  • Slow or unreliable computers mean slow productivity and frustrated staff

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5 Warning Signs That It’s Time To Upgrade Your PC

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Category: IT Support, Latest.

You only bought it a couple of years ago, so it can’t be time to upgrade your PC just yet.

Can it?

Well, for a start, it was probably much longer ago than you think that you purchased your latest desktop, and even so, there are no cast-iron assurances that your hardware will stand the test of time year-after-year.

Unfortunately for your wallet, technology runs in cycles. What was considered “mod” and revolutionary five short years ago (you know, 2009) might just be well past its sell-by-date.

Like any diagnosis, discovering you have a problem early can help you when it comes to finding the cure and limiting the damage.

So, if you’re sensing a little sluggishness or noticing some nasty noises, it could be a warning sign that all is not well with your computer.

Here are five signs it’s time to upgrade.

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Windows 10 What You Need to Know

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Category: IT News, Latest.

At a rather low-key ceremony in San Francisco last week, Microsoft announced to the world the imminent release of its brand new and hotly-anticipated operating system.

Wait a minute, where’s Windows 9?” I hear you cry.

Okay, new software will be released in 2015, but Microsoft has decided to skip “Windows 9” and bizarrely shoot straight for Windows 10 instead (presumably because the number 10 sounds a lot more complete than 9 does – at least in theory).

So why the change of heart?

Well, the problem for Microsoft is that around 1.5 billion people use Windows in one form or another but very few use the platform on their phones, tablets and other mobile devices.

So, if anything, tweaking their already successful Windows OS could be more of an effort to move with the times than cornering a new fan base.

Some even see it as an attempt to win back the traditional PC user, who has been on the receiving end of some serious flirtation from the likes of Apple and Google in recent years.

On first impressions it would appear that, rather that adding a load of new and unnecessary features, the latest package has been designed with simplicity very much at the forefront in an attempt to seduce those lost to Microsoft’s previous incarnation.

So what else can we expect from a company that is so keen to move on from Windows 8?

Here’s what we can all look forward to when Windows 10 is released next year.

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Spam Detection in Emails

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Category: Business, IT Processes, IT Purchasing, IT Security, IT Training.

If you’re in the habit of checking the news online you will have noticed that almost daily now there are reports of data breaches by attackers. Cyber security headlines are all too frequent and alert us to the skill and persistence of hackers.

Many organisations still rely on traditional security controls in the form of technology such as anti-virus software and firewalls, etc. to protect their critical assets but it is now clear that this is not enough. The increasing importance of employee security awareness is often overlooked with companies providing little or no basic awareness training.

Personnel and processes are often disregarded when it comes to improving security, partly because the security risk they pose to an organisation is difficult to measure and track.

These days, this a crucial issue with cyber security, but businesses that (very sensibly) put in place IT software security often struggle to get senior management to address a risk that they haven’t been able to quantify, or even prove exists.

The problem is that as the technical, on-line security of organisations increases, attackers are looking instead to a much weaker area: employees.

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How to avoid stolen smartphone

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Category: IT News, Mobile Computing.

A new Mobile Phone Theft report compiled by the Home Office has indicated that over 740,000 people were victims of phone theft over the last two years – with Apple handsets more likely to be stolen than any other phone.

In London alone, almost 100,000 mobile phones were reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police during the 12 months of 2013.

The report states that the iPhone 5, 5C, 5S and 4S were most targeted followed by the Blackberry 9790.

Apparently, 37% of mobile phone thefts took place on public transport or in another public place, with under a third taking place in bars, pubs and clubs. Surprisingly, nearly 20% of thefts occurred in places of work.

And as for those more likely to be the victim of mobile phone crime, the report suggests 4.7% of phone theft victims were women aged between 18-21, while 14-24 year olds are the targeted more than any other group – either stolen directly from their person, through pick-pocketing, or when the handset is briefly left unattended.

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Cabling Issues

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Category: Computer Maintenance, Computer Networks, IT Support.

Is this a familiar situation with the data cabling in your offices?  Is there just one of these or are there multiple situations throughout the building, hiding under desks, in cupboards and above ceilings?

The reason for the appearances of these “Mini Switches” is usually that as a company grows or invests in new equipment they find they don’t have enough IT cabling outlets to support what they need.

Additional staff will require extra data cabling outlets for PC’s and phones and as new equipment such a telephone systems are installed, new dedicated IT cabling outlets are required but not always available.

The quick fix approach shown in the photographs is to find 1 spare data cabling outlet and add on 5/8/16 way mini switches and plug all the new requirements into that.  These can number 1 per room if the equipment installed needs a lot of new IT cabling outlets.

However, the more of these mini switches are installed, the greater the bottlenecks down the IT system.  In a lot of cases these mini switches will then link from one to another.  In some businesses we’ve seen (for example) a main switch linking to a floor serving switch to 4 mini switches in a row in each office.  Several of them also had 2 connections between switches creating a loop on the network almost shutting it down completely.

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Six Things You Can Expect from the iPhone 6

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Category: Mobile Computing.

There are a few things you can be sure of at this time of year.

The nights start to draw in, the weather takes a distinctively autumnal turn and Apple produce their latest iPhone handset.

If rumours are to be believed, Apple’s latest offering – the iPhone 6 – is expected to be just around the corner with a September 9 announcement date mooted.

Despite what seems to be an annual event at the end of every summer, there appears to be no let-up in the frenzy of excitement that surrounds this well rehearsed event and there’s little doubt that the world will be watching as CEO Tim Cook unveils another piece of “must-have” technology.

However, with many questioning the advances in innovation that Apple’s recent iPhone models have made – the pressure is somewhat on Cook to deliver.

The rumour mill has been in overdrive in the lead up to the widely anticipated launch, with many experts predicting a larger, faster, “all singing, all dancing” version of a handset which was first released over seven years ago.

So, as we all wait for the official announcement, here are six things that you should probably expect from the iPhone 6:

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