Common Myths About Technology: Part 1

With a world surrounded by technology, we are constantly hearing about the many ways to care for your devices and what the dos and don’ts are when handling them. A lot of the times we can’t help but come across some information that completely contradicts the one we may have just heard about.

We have searched some of the most common myths about technology and decided to share them with you in two parts to help clear some contradicting information for you. Here is part 1 of the common myths:

Macs Are Not Prone to Viruses

One of the most common myths is the one about macs not getting viruses. Perhaps this myth stems from Apple’s claim that their OS X software system is not susceptible to the common viruses targeted towards Windows. Although this is true, it does not mean that apple computers are not susceptible to those viruses created to target Macs.

In fact, the more common these computers become in homes and offices, the more vulnerable they become towards malware.

A Cell Phone’s Battery Should be Drained Before Charging

This is another very common misconception and the reason for this goes back to when NiCd batteries were common in many tech devices. The NiCd batteries suffer from “memory effect” which leads to the battery not being able to recharge up to 100 percent, causing the battery life to drain more quickly.

Since the early 2000s, NiCd batteries have been replaced with Lithium-Ion batteries, especially in all Apple products, which eliminate the “memory effect” issue. Although this is true, though, Apple does advice for the devices to be drained at least once a month in order to help maintain battery life.

More Bars Means Better Service

When we see our signal bars go down, we immediately start moving around to get more signal in order to have better service. Truth is, the bars only show the signal strength to the cell phone tower near you. The service is determined by the amount of tech devices connected to that same tower.

Files are Permanently Deleted Once Trash Bin is emptied

Maybe this is something you never thought of before, but the fact is that after the trash/recycling bin has been emptied in your computer, fragments of those deleted files can be left behind. This means that those fragments can be restored. The act of deleting a file is simply to make space for new ones.

In order to fully delete files on a Mac, you may want to follow up by clicking on “Secure Empty Trash.” If you are a PC owner, it is best to download a secure deleting program.

 

Private Browsing Means Anonymity

Private browsing does not keep anyone anonymous. Using this browsing mechanism simply keeps your computer from saving information about the websites visited and what typed or clicked on while being there. However, files downloaded from private browsing will remain in your device.

Disaster No More with Cloud Computing

Remember the devastating Hurricane Sandy that struck the East Coast destroying all homes and businesses? If you were not personally affected by this disaster, imagine being the owner of one of those businesses aggressively affected by this natural disaster. Can you imagine having all of your valuable information destroyed and having to forfeit running your business in order to try and recover all lost data and rebuilding the office?

According to an article on LightReading.com, after the hurricane disaster, the cloud-based recovery market was examined in order to analyze what features would be put in place in case of another similar disaster. They also looked at geographic landscapes in order to determine what types of phenomenon they should prepare for in the next 18-24 months.

By now you have probably looked at our past posts talking about cloud computing and all of its benefits and downfalls. Here are some ways in which the cloud could help during disasters:

Off-site Backup Storage:

What would be the use of having a physical backup storage located in the premises of the disaster? If a physical backup is placed on site during a fire, robbery or flooding, chances are that it will also be destroyed along with everything else in the location. If the backup is stored in an offsite location, then imagine how much productivity would be lost in search for it. Having cloud-computing backup could help keep all your backed up data safe and easily accessible.

Consistent Backup:

Having a cloud service as disaster recovery can provide you with an easy way to schedule your backups in order to stay consistent. You could schedule it for every month, week or day. It could be done in real time if so needed.

Keeps Business Running:

Using the cloud can help prevent you from having to forfeit running your business if an onsite business location is off-limits. Because the cloud can be easily accessible to anywhere to anyone with access, your business could still run offsite.

Much Cheaper:

By having a cloud-based recovery service, you could eliminate any off site duplicate IT plan, which can be extremely costly depending on the magnitude of the disaster.

Tips for Using Personal Devices as a Business Device

For many small businesses financing is tight, especially during those first five or so years. Owners and managers are always looking for a way to increase productivity and raise revenue all while differentiating the business from others in your field. Finding ways to use personal devices to promote your business is key to making it through the lean years. Having a smart mobile strategy can help you manage security, data management and upkeep. Here are some clever things to think about when using your personal devices for business.

  • Keeping an Eye on Costs – Obviously if your company is trying to reduce costs, managing the multitude of devices can get overwhelming. Maintaining an inventory of your mobile assets is critical because, if you don’t know what devices you have in your organization, you won’t be able to keep track of your bills and spending, both for wireless service and for hardware. Have a set employee be the point person who keeps tabs on wireless bills, maintenance and any issues that come up.
  • Establish a Company Mobile Policy – Consider coming up with some set standards about usage for personal vs business use. This should include a policy for things such as: installment of Apps, security for business data, social media use, and a policy to report abuses and problems. A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy should also be set before employees can use a personal device for work related purposes. The Human Resources department – or a specialist if you are a small company- can review with your employees problems such as sexting, mobile harassment and driving while texting.
  • Data Management – One critical piece that can not be ignored when it comes to using data on personal devices is the management and protection of the business data you are accessing. Make sure your business data, such as contacts, pictures, files and financial information are backed up at a separate site and have security methods in place. This applies to information that could be lost or stolen if the device is taken or lost.

The Benefits of Multifunctional Printers

We are a society that demands immediate gratification and major multitasking abilities. Our smartphones allow us to have a phone conversation all while surfing the web. Our laptops work at lightening speed and can run multiple programs at once. We expect our technology to work fast and to do multiple jobs at once. This is why many companies find multifunctional printers to be such an asset to their business. Multifunctional printers, or MFPs, combine the capabilities of up to four devices: printer, copier, scanner and fax, into one piece of equipment. Let’s examine the many benefits of this device and some caveats as well.

  • Money Savers – What business doesn’t like to save money? MFPs offer the capability of gaining multiple equipment functionality at a far smaller cost than the combined price of many devices an MFP replaces. Although the purchase price for an all-in-one printer may exceed that of a traditional printer, the overall cost typically remains less than purchasing multiple machines. In addition to the savings associated with the original purchase price, maintaining one device costs less than maintaining multiple devices.
  • Space Saver – Obviously fewer devices means less space being absorbed in your office or home. For many small businesses that rely on setting up shop in a small space this can be a lifesaver. Most models now are compact thus freeing up valuable real estate on counters and in workrooms.
  • Reduction of Waste – MFPs use one set of consumable supplies for all their output options which translates into less waste. Since the machine uses the same ink/toner cartridges, it saves on buying multiple brands and, thus streamlines usage and recycling. If your company is hoping to reduce waste of electricity the MFP may be a good choice. One MFP uses less electricity than the host of devices it replaces.

Although MFPs can offer considerable advantages, they are not without their downsides as well. When you meet multiple office needs with one device, you run the risk of losing access to multiple office functions if your MFP develops problems.  For example, a problem with an ink or toner cartridge may prevent you from printing, copying and receiving faxes. Another disadvantage of a multifunctional printer includes the potential lack of quality when compared to single function devices. For example, the fax machine on a multifunctional device may not offer the same magnitude of features as those offered by a standalone fax machine. If you have questions about what kind of printer might be the best for your business talk to the experts at M&H Consulting.

 

The State of Solid State Drives

Josh Hewitt

Most of the time, your computer data is stored on a hard drive that is on a spinning
platter (think vinyl record player). When you go and open several programs, you may hear the grinding sound of it furiously reading. As of this article, the cost of a solid state drive has gone down &om what they used to cost and are quite affordable for a desktop I laptop drive replacement. What is a solid state drive? It is an all memory based data drive with no moving parts. A solid state drive, or SSD,
has many benefits which could be vital to your day to day operations.

Imagine your laptop, with the spinning platters at 5000+ rotations per minute. Remember what happens if you bumped a vinyl player (or cd player)? It would skip, and even possibly cause damage to the disc or record. This same idea applies to
that same hard drive in your desktop or laptop. The main advantage of the SSD is
there are no moving parts, so less worry about any “skipping” or damage upon bumping or moving. The other main advantage is that without the moving parts, there is less power being used and could actually help gain some battery life on a laptop! The biggest and most obvious of advantages has to be the speed. Files could open much faster, and boot times could be seconds compared to minutes.

solid state drive

The biggest things to remember are that with these drives, there are still limits in
conjunction with older hardware. If you have a machine that is 5+ years old, you may not gain much. Recently, most companies are starting to provide the option to having a SSD with newer desktops and laptops. Most desktops and laptops have the ability to handle a SSD, and M&H will be more than happy to assist in transferring your data from your old and slow hard drive. We provide the professional knowledge to carry over your data, and breath fresh air into your computer. If this is something you would like look into, please feel free to contact any of our techs and will can evaluate whether this would be a good choice for your business by calling 866-9MH-1ECH (866-964-8324) or e-mail support@mhconsults.net.

C:UsersAcerAppDataLocalTempmso965E.tmp

How do you get rid of old electronics?

If your business is like many businesses, you probably have a back storeroom that has a pile of old devices, misfit gadgets and ancient computers. These discarded fossils are collecting dust and taking up valuable space in your office or possibly your home. While we all know the drill when it comes to disposing of paper, plastic and aluminum via recycling programs, we often hold onto old electronics because we don’t really know what to do with them.  Are there any parts that could be of use?  Can it just be pitched or does it need to be recycled? Here is some valuable information on getting rid of your technology safely and some resources that will guide you along the way.

Recycling in a digital world can be a little intimidating. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the average home contains about 28 electronic devices including: laptops, smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. That number jumps remarkably for even small businesses. Many states have started passing e-waste regulations to save landfills from being inundated with electronics that could be dangerous. So far, 25 states have passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling. Several more states are working on passing new laws or improving existing laws. If you are unsure where your state stands check out the E-Waste Map.

Looking to unload your fossil pile somewhere?  There are options available that you may want to consider and some steps you should take before you eliminate your old electronics.

  • Wipe The Memory – It doesn’t matter whether you are going to recycle the device, sell it or dismantle it for parts, always clear the memory so that the information (personal or business related) can not be uncovered. Be sure to backup the data before you do a final wipe.
  • Sell– This option is attractive to many businesses because it would be great to recoup some of the cost of the appliance. Look into options like: eBay, Craigslist, or kiosks like EcoATM. Mail-in services like Gazelle.com are also an option if you don’t mind waiting a week or more for the money.
  • Recycle – This option may mean waiting for your local electronics day or e-waste day. Your first step should be checking the manufacturer’s website to find recycling options. Large retail chains like Staples, BestBuy and Radioshack also have product drop off locations and even gift card options available.
  • Donate – A great tax break might be in your future if the technology is not completely outdated and the devices could be of use to a non-profit or community program.  Talk to local business leaders to see if there is a program in your area.

 

Spring Cleaning your Technology

Got the winter blues?  Chin up my friend because every day we get closer and closer to spring and the weather we love.  Many people find this is a good time of year to clean out things from their home and get organized again. Ahhh the annual ritual of spring cleaning!  An area that many people neglect is cleaning and organizing the technology in your home and business. Here at M&H Consulting we recommend a spring cleaning of sorts for your technology. Whether it is at home or in the office, this time of year is a great time to clean out your computer as well as cleaning up the hardware.  Here are some ideas for you “self starters” or you can call us to help you neaten things up.

Hardware – If you notice dust and debris caught in your hardware, then this is a good time to think about a professional cleaning. Dust bunnies can trap heat and shorten the life of your system. Your keyboard is probably the area that you use the most and that faces the harshest punishment. There are probably days, if not weeks, worth of chips, splashed coffee, and other debris that has been lodged inside the keyboard and between the keys.  Your tablet and mobile devices probably could use a quick swipe to clear up the touchpad and be sure debris is not blocking any ports. If you are a novice in cleaning hardware you may want to hire a professional.  If you are a “do-it-yourselfer,” you may want to try a few things.

  • First and foremost turn off any technology and unplug keyboard from the computer if you are attempting to clean up.
  • Compressed air containers can quickly remove dust and debris from visible areas.
  • Use a bleach-free disinfecting wipes to remove grime. Studies have shown that keyboards have more bacteria than toilet seats.
  • Use a soft, slightly damp lint-free cloth to clean monitors and touch screens.
  • If you know how to open the hard drive and remove dust buildup on the case fans, air vents, motherboard and CPU heatsink and fan.

Software and Apps – Evaluate all of your devices and desktop computers in your spring cleaning.

  • Remove Apps that you no longer use and check that Apps are updated.
  • Turn on automatic updates if you have not already done so.
  • Evaluate your software for potential malware and signs that it has been compromised.
  • Over time software tends to degrade so consider tweaking it to recover some of your performance level.
  • While you are at it you might as well check the security of your computer.
  • Review your system backup plan.

You may need professional help to thoroughly examine your software and hardware. Call M&H Consulting to manage your “spring cleaning” needs.

Data Backup: New and Improved

Rob Demers

One of the most important things for any business utilizing computer technology is having a current, working, reliable, and regularly tested backup of their critical data. For the SMB market, years ago this was limited to on-site backup using a tape
or cartridge rotation. Over the past five to seven years, online backups have become more and more accessible as the associated costs have lowered, bringing that as either a single solution or as a supplement to the current on-site backup. Now and over the past few years a more comprehensive has also become reachable by the small business sector: off-site image backups that can be brought online to be used while on-site hardware is worked on in the event of a failure.

This sort of technology has been around for a bit, however, it was cost prohibitive
for a lot of small businesses. Costs associated with this started in the low to mid figure mark for entry level devices. Currently there are services a business can subscribe to which will allow for a device to be put on the network and back up one or more servers or computers and provide both local backup for fast data retrieval and also a cloud based backup. One of the great features of this cloud based backup is that it can be activated if needed to act as a virtual clone of the backed up on-site server or computer. This can be a great benefit to any company that relies on data stored on site. As an example, if a server were to go down, naturally it cannot be accessed locally. While it is being worked on, employees could be unable to perform critical business operations, dramatically reducing their productivity, or in a worse case bringing the business to a halt altogether. Depending on the severity of the problem with the server or computer, this could last for days while hardware is being fixed or purchased, software re-configured if necessary, etc. With the ability to have a virtual copy turned on in the cloud and then some configuration in the office, this could be reduced to as little as a few hours or less. There are also options to have an on-site device capable of this same thing, which increases speed and reduces the downtime even further, and can be activated remotely – even using an app on your smartphone! The best part? These services can
cost as little as $100 a month (depending on level of services desired and amount
of data to be backed up)!

data backup

If a product or service like this sounds interesting and further information is needed, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here at M&H Consulting. Call 866-9MH-TECH (866-964-8324) or e-mail support@mhconsults.com.

————————————————————————————-
TAKE $$$CASH$$$ FROM M&H CONSULTING
Refer a new Tech-For-A-Day client to M&H Consulting and mention this offer to l
us, and you will receive $25 for each PC the new client has. Call for details.
————————————————————————————-

Common viruses found on phones and tablets

 

 

Most people take their phones and tablets for granted. It is only when a problem arises, like misplacing the device or, worse yet, getting a virus, that owners go into panic mode. Yes, I said virus.  Most mobile users mistakenly think that phones and tablets are somehow immune from getting the viruses and other malware. While it is fairly rare, it does happen and you should be aware of steps to take to protect yourself and your data. Let’s examine some actions you can take to prevent viruses and malware from making their way onto your mobile devices and into your precious business and personal data.

 

How does a virus get on your mobile device?

How does a virus get on your mobile device in the first place?  Regardless of  whether you have an Apple, Android, or Windows, your mobile device is potentially vulnerable. While mobile viruses may not be on your radar they can be fairly nasty given the vast amount of information kept on your phone. Think about the number of contacts, and apps you have stored as well as credit card data, and work files that may be shared with your business computers. There are four common methods for viruses to get on your phone or tablet. These include:

  • Downloading infected apps– There are literally millions of apps for mobile devices, many of which are free. And many of them come with unwanted side-effects.
  • Visiting compromised Web sites– If you’re surfing the web on unprotected sites then don’t be surprised if you find yourself infected with a virus or malware.
  • Opening Infected Texts or Emails – Just because you are on your mobile device doesn’t mean you should forget the old rule that you don’t open attachments that are from an unknown source.
  • Cross Contamination – If you are like many people, you access your work emails and data from your mobile device. This behavior can lead to the spread of a virus that is on your work computer.

What can you do to prevent viruses or malware on your mobile devices?

  1. Be careful about opening emails with attachments that come from an unknown source.
  2. Be careful about the websites you visit.
  3. Research Apps before you download them on to your mobile device.
  4. Take Apps off your phone or tablet that you no longer use.
  5. Install anti-virus software.
  6. Have a backup plan for your data.
  7. Be aware of where you are connecting your phone. Is it free of viruses?

Top Tech Issues Faced by Businesses

What was your top tech issue last year?  Was it security, data management, cloud computing, or maybe budget restraints?  The list of possibilities are endless as small and medium sized businesses grapple to keep up with the wave of technology updates and changes. A recent symposium in Boston, Massachusetts of top CIOs resulted the evaluation of what can only be deemed as being “engulfed with digitization.”

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) across the country and even around the globe struggle with common issues such as purchasing the right tech tools then getting it into the right hands at work. They also struggle to convince their colleagues and customers that updates and changes in technology will help them – not cause anxiety and mistakes.  These general concerns across the board in small and medium companies break down into more detailed tech issues.  For example one of the top tech issues for small businesses is Increasing Profitability followed closely by Increasing Business Growth and Reducing Operating Costs. Medium sized businesses are faced with the top issue of Reducing Operating Costs followed by Increasing Profitability and Increasing Business Growth.

A techaisle report for 2015 analyzed the top tech issues from that year.  The following infographic sheds some light on issues that you may be facing in your business.  M&H Consulting has the expertise and capacity to help you handle all of these tech challenges and changes for 2016.2015-top10-smb-it-priorities-business-issues-techaisle-infographics