Laptops for Business

 

Finding the right technology for your business needs can be tricky work. There are so many choices out there for software, hardware and office tech that it can become overwhelming without some direction. In today’s blog we are discussing work technology in the form of the much beloved business laptop. We will look at the options out there as well as some things that you may want to consider before making your purchase.

 

According to PC Mag, business owners are looking for something that is durable, secure, powerful, light and has the battery capacity to last through an entire work day. Things to consider, then when researching the best business laptop for your needs are:

 

  • Storage – How much storage you need for your files, presentation or security software? Do you use multimedia presentations or merely need access to files?  
  • Memory – The right amount of memory allows you to keep more programs and windows open while you work.
  • Graphics – Make sure your laptop has the right type of graphics and displays for the needs of your company.
  • Connectivity – Getting connect to the web through a wifi location when you are on-the-go is important for business travelers. Choose a laptop that has options for how easily and how securely you can connect.
  • Battery Life – Most business laptops come with options of battery. No one wants to be on a long business trip only to stop every few hours to recharge. You can choose between the number of batteries and cells. The higher you go, the heavier the device will be so you need to decide if the battery performance is worth the weight.

 

Resources – Click on the following links if you would like to continue your laptop search and are looking at rankings.

 

PC Mag Top Laptops 2017

 

The 8 Best Business Laptops to Buy in 2017

Top 10 best business laptops in 2017

An Effective Data Center

A data center is a large group of networked computer servers typically used by organizations for the remote storage, processing, or distribution of large amounts of data. Commonly, data centers are run by large companies or government agencies. However, they are also increasingly used to provide a fast-growing cloud solution service for private and business applications. Does your company use a data center?

 

According to Palo Alto Networks, data center architectures and requirements can differ significantly. For example, a center built for a cloud service provider like Amazon EC2 satisfies significantly different facility, infrastructural, and security requirements than a completely private data center, such as one built for the Pentagon that is dedicated to securely maintaining classified data. Does your data center provide these services and technology? Here are some elements of an effective data center.

 

  • Facility – The amount of whitespace or usable space that allows access to information makes them high energy consuming facilities. Computers get hot and need adequate ventilation, cooling and protection. Environmental controls should keep the center within specified humidity and temperature requirements.

 

  • High Grade IT Equipment – Look around a data center and you should see high quality hardware, cables, servers and racks. There should also be several levels of security, such as software and hardware security – a must to protect your remote storage items.

 

  • Support Infrastructure – According to Palo Alto Networks, equipment should contribute to securely sustaining the highest level of availability possible. The Uptime Institute defined four tiers data centers can fall under with availability ranging from 99.671% – 99.995%. Some components for supporting infrastructure include: uninterruptible power sources (UPS) – battery banks, generators, and redundant power sources, Environmental control – computer room air conditioners (CRAC), heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and exhaust systems, Physical security systems – biometrics and video surveillance systems

 

  • Operating Staff – Data centers should have IT professionals monitoring the center for issues and glitches continuously.

 

How to Backup Windows 10

We all know about it and we all know the importance of it, but somehow, we forget to do it until it is too late. We’re talking about backing up your computer! For businesses this is an extremely important act in order to ensure that all your important files are saved and will continue to be saved somewhere in case of a computer crash.

For Windows computers, there are two different forms of backups, file backup and system backups. File backups are exactly that; it is when you backup different types of files onto an external hard drive or network. System backups copies the entire Windows operating system including your programs, files, and settings in order to help restore your computer after a computer crash.

How to:

File backups are much simpler than system backups. Simply connect either an external hard drive or network to your PC. Go to “Start” > “Setting” > “Update & Security” > “Backup” and then select the location for backup (external hard drive or network).  To help make the backup process go by faster, you can select which files you do or do not want to backup by going to “More Options.”

Many times, while backing up files, some of them may go missing. In order to restore these missing files, search “Restore files” on the task bar, then go to “Restore your files with File History.”  Once there you will be able to find the missing file and decide whether you want to restore it in its original version at its original location or at its backup location.

To restore in original location: Go to missing file and select “Restore”

To restore in a different location: Go to missing file, select “Restore” > “Restore to” and then select the location to restore it.

How to:

System backups can be much more complicated than file backups. If you need to backup your PC system and would like assistance in doing so, contact M&H for help!

How to Backup your Mac

Backing up your computer is essential for giving your hard drive space and ensuring that your important files are safely stored. There are multiple ways in which you can backup different files, large or small. Two ways in which you can back up data is through Time Machine and iCloud.

Time Machine Backup:

Through Time Machine you can back up data to either an external hard drive or network. In order to back up with a hard drive, you would need to connect the hard drive to the computer. You would also have to connect your computer to the network if backing it up this way. Once your preferred backup location is connected, go to “System Preference” > “Time Machine” > “Select Disk” and then select “Encrypt Backups” to protect your files from hackers.

By backing up through Time Machine, you are able to continue using your computer as normal. However, to prevent your computer from slowing down too much during this process, go to “System Preferences” in Time Machine and select “Options.” Through here you will be able to select which items you do and don’t want to backup.

If you wanted to backup music from your iTunes, it’s best to backup through Time Machine as well. To do this go to iTunes app > “File” > “Library” > “Organize Library” and then check on “Consolidate Files” > “Done.” Once the file has been consolidated, you must locate the specific iTunes file you will be backing up. To locate the file, go to “Finder” > home folder > “music folder” > “iTunes Folder”.

iCloud Backup:

iCloud is best for backing up photos and videos. To do this, simply go to “ System Preferences” > “iCloud.” Once there, select the files you do and do not want to download. This will allow your photos and videos to upload in full resolution.

For more extensive help on backing up important files, contact M&H Consults for help on this and any other technological questions.

Tech Skills for 2017

As mentioned in our previous blog, the IT industry can be a competitive one, especially for those who are looking for an entry level job. Because of this, we have decided to share with you some marketable technological skills that could help you land an IT job in this New Year. If you find that you have many of these tech skills already, be sure to advertise them when attending job interviews.

Programming Skills:

Programming skills are a useful skill to have for software and application developments. Many companies that have applications or specific software also hire those with programming skills to help upkeep and maintain it.

Technical Support Skills:

By this we mean having the full knowledge of various software and hardware to be able to help other businesses and individuals with any technological complications. Being able to have such skill could help you sell yourself in many interviews since this type of job is the most in demand.

Analytics Skills:

If you are analytics certified, market it! This is just almost as important of a skill as coding/programming in the IT industry. Being able to know and understand how to analyze certain information is important in helping businesses determine the advantages and weaknesses of each company.

Cloud Computing Skills:

Because many businesses are switching to cloud computing to better save and easily access their data, being able to observe, organize, and maintain cloud services is a significantly useful skill. Many businesses with unique cloud computing services need to have a well organized service in order to be able to do work efficiently and cloud architects can help ensure that it gets done without complications.

There are many other skills not mentioned here that can help you land an IT job. Simply be prepared to know which ones could be the most important for the job you are interviewing for in order to stand out.

Preparing your Company for Technology Changes

Technology is always changing and advancing. It is safe to say that technological change is inevitable especially with the younger professional generation applying new software programs to help get their work done more efficiently. Because of these constant changes, it is crucial to develop a plan to help your business make a smooth transition into new technology changes.

The first thing you want to make sure you do is developing a plan to communicate the changes with all the staff within the business. Either the head of the business or the head of the IT Department would be the best to deliver the announcements of change.

The next step would be to train your project manager or hire a strong project manager to manage all the outside work while the internal IT works is being completed. They would have to be the point of reference for vendors, internal staff and consultants.

Once the changes have been made or are being processed, it is important to track the progress. The IT department should observe and make sure things are working as they should. You would also have to make sure that everyone fully understands how to use or work with the new advancements. The best way to make sure that everyone is on the same page and knows how to work with specific devices is to host a session for the staff that will go into details of the function.

If you are going through any specific changes in your company and need more extensive help on transitioning your company into new technology, contact M&H Consultant for guidance!

How to Identify & Avoid Unwanted Programs

Unwanted programs are constantly being downloaded, many times, without your permission. This is usually because some programs can only be downloaded as a bundle with another program. Sometimes, even loading up a website can cause other programs to be downloaded as well. Although some unwanted programs might not cause any direct harm or be a malware carrier, they can fill up space in your tech’s system, eventually causing it to shut down. Determining which programs are harmful for your technology can be difficult, especially when there are so many disguised like legitimate ones. Follow along to learn how you can identify and avoid unwanted programs.

Potential unwanted programs (PUPs) can cause technical issues such as:

      Slow computer program

      Display of Pop Up ads

      Collect personal information

One way to avoid installing such programs is by going through custom installation instead of simply clicking on the recommended download method. PUPs can easily be installed when you choose the recommended method. Especially when they are piggy-backing a legitimate program. Many times, the end user licensing agreements (EULA) contain information on the other programs that will be downloaded. Makes sure you read through the EULA and don’t accept bundle programs.

According to The Windows Club, a trick to avoid PUPs is to click on “I Decline” whenever you are downloading a program and the “I Accept” or “I Decline” options come up. However, if “I Accept” happens to be the only option, you should unclick the option and simply click “Next.” Don’t worry; you’ll still be able to download the program.

Want to make sure you haven’t already downloaded PUPs? Here are a few steps on how to identify and get rid of them:

      Go to your browser

      Go to your options

      Manage your add-ons

      Turn off all add-ons you do not recognize

For more information on identifying a PUPs and preventing them, contact M&H online or by phone!

Top Causes of Data Loss

In our technology driven business world, data is growing exponentially for companies. Security breaches of sensitive data has rocked our world for the past few years. It seems as if there are no institutions, whether large or small, public or private, that are immune to the problem of data loss and data breaches. The escalation of hackings and cyber crimes on means that technology officers and business leaders need to be aware of the reasons behind data loss. Here is a quick recap from studies over the last few years showing the major causes of data loss.

 

  • Human Error – Employees have direct access to your most sensitive data regularly. The top risk of losing data is deleting files or parts of texts without having any backups available – usually by employees. Did you also know how common it is for employees to spill coffee or drinks into a laptop? Liquids cause short circuit of important electronic components and they are really hard to recover afterwards. Since losing data is so common, some employees don’t even see it as a huge problem anymore. Having the right back up procedures can most definitely help so that if data is accidentally deleted it can be easily accessed.
  • Viruses and Malware – Staying on top of the latest malware and viruses that are out there in the cyber world can be daunting. Keep your software current to help stay up to date with the latest viruses out there. In addition, making regular backups of your data and having it available after severe virus damages may have really high value.
  • Old Hardware – Hard drives and hardware can age and be neglected. There are so many moving parts inside of hard drives that it is no wonder they break down so easily. Hard drives can die a natural death after 5-6 years of use. Regular backups really help in case of hardware troubles. Hard disk failures do not mean that data is lost forever if you have the opportunity to take the latest version of your data from safe storage and continue using it after any kind of hardware failures.
  • Power Failures or Natural Disasters – Mother Nature has a way of letting us know that we, as humans, are powerless. Having automatic backups of your work enables you to recover from any accidents caused by power failures or natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, fire or other unthinkable events.
  • Theft – Electronic devices whether they are smartphones, tablets or laptops can be easily stolen. It adds insult to injury if you lose your device as well as your data! The data may actually be more valuable to your business than the actual device. Recovering data may be a lot easier if you save to the cloud or have specific backup procedures so that all that data doesn’t walk away with the thief.

 

Has your company created a backup plan? Talk to M&H Consultants to find out the best way your business can protect itself from data loss.

 

Protecting Systems from Terminated Employees

According to studies, about two-thirds of past employees are still able to access their past employer’s system. How could this be? Well, it seems that many times, when employers terminate or an employee leaves the company, employer’s don’t always think about the many data they have access to and don’t think to involve their IT department in their termination process.

There is really no way around it; past employees with access to company networks and records means they can be a security threat, especially if the relationship between them and the business was left in bad terms. We’ve put together a few tips on ways in which you can protect your company’s data from those past employees.

Tip 1- Change Passwords

It may seem like a lot of work, but having all passwords changed is crucial. This is the easiest way for employees to gain access and cause damage. Go through every server, website, software, etc. in which they had access and change the passwords to a strong and complex password.

Tip 2- Terminate Email Access

This is one area in which your IT department can be helpful, if you’re not sure how to terminate an employee’s company email. If past employees have access to their email, this means they have access to files that were once shared with them.

Tip 3- Revoke Remote Access

If the employee worked remotely and had access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) you want to make sure they are no longer able to access it. With this type of access, terminated employees can get their hands on updated or new data that could be sensitive for business.

Tip 4- Retrieve Company Technology

If your company has given employees technology like laptops, tablets, computers, phones, etc. you must get them back. In these devices past employees can have important data, files or notes with sensitive information in them.

Overall, every business should put in place a policy that includes IT in the termination process. Sensitive data should be crucially protected. For help in any of these tips, contact M&H for further information.

Worst Case Scenarios of Backup Disasters

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

 

It is not what business leaders ever want to think about but it is a topic they must consider – worst case scenarios of backup disasters! What do we mean by worst case scenarios? Unfortunately, there is a long list of things that could go wrong and could jeopardize your technology and data in the blink of an eye. Environmental triggers such as record snowfall, hurricanes, and floods, top the list of  storm-related fears of executive and tech experts alike. Then there is the other “storm” as such that can cause just as much fear of a worst case technology failure – human error. Most disasters in IT aren’t due to bad weather, but instead attributed to human error. Common mistakes, disgruntled employees, and malicious attacks by hackers are some of the risks that plague data centers, in addition to the storms and bad weather over which we have no control. All of these events can cause what no business owner wants to consider a back up disaster!  

 

No matter the threat – humankind or Mother Nature – you need to understand your business’s risk landscape and understand how you can prevent a worst case scenario from happening at your company. The best disaster recovery plans take into account all the possibilities and look at the worst that has happened to other companies in order to learn from and prevent such occurrences in the future. What steps can you take to minimize your business’ risk and prevent the worst from happening right in your own office.

 

  • Disaster Recovery Plan – Every company should have a plan of what to do in the case of an event that can impact your tech or physical office. This Disaster Recovery Plan should be a documented process or set of procedures to recover and protect a business IT infrastructure in the event of a disaster. Such a plan, ordinarily documented in written form, specifies procedures an organization is to follow in the event of a disaster.
  • A Backup Team – Certain employees may be designated to monitor worst case scenarios in order to properly jump into action in the case of an event that stops employees from getting to work or if technology has been compromised. Some companies even have a secondary office location where work can be done, or done remotely. This group should know what the most recent backups included in order to ensure that all data and files are secure and able to be accessed.
  • Insurance Safeguards – Invest in insurance to cover your hardware and devices. Computers, printers, phones, projectors and other forms of technology can cost a ton of money to replace. If you ever face an office fire or natural disaster, you don’t want to worry about spending thousands to replace your vital business equipment.
  • Prepare Clients – Customers and Clients should be aware that there is a disaster recovery procedure well before an actual disaster occurs. Well crafted emails and preplanned documents can put clients at ease about what to expect from your business if a worst case scenario occurs.

Transition Planning – Planning for a worst case scenario also takes into account transitioning back to normalcy after the event. Your Disaster Recovery Team should be able to reasonably give information and timelines to employees about how quickly things will get back to normal.