Don't forget, this Thursday (10/3) is Coffee and Cookie Thursday here at Yellowstone Computing! Stop on by from 9-5 for exotic coffee, delicious, home-baked goodies, and friendly conversation. Sit a spell, or get it to go!
Wi-Fi is a top contender for a technology most of us rely upon. After all, Wi-Fi often provides our wireless high-speed internet and network connections. Without Wi-Fi we’d be stuck watching another reality TV show on a cable-connected device. We couldn’t work from wherever we wanted in our homes. Gulp, the horror! Well, just when you were becoming familiar with Wi-Fi, technology is adapting. Now, you might want to consider Mesh Wi-Fi for your home. If you live in a big house or an apartment with thick interior walls, or your living space is spread out over multiple stories, you may have experienced dead spots. They’re no fun, right? Enter Mesh Wi-Fi. Traditional Wi-Fi relies on a single router. If you were having connectivity issues, you might have invested in a Wi-Fi booster or Wi-Fi extender, but now you can reach far areas with a Wi-Fi Mesh system. Mesh networks aren’t new. They’re already in use in businesses and on military bases with their own isolated networks. But now you can also optimize home connectivity with Mesh Wi-Fi.
How Mesh Wi-Fi Works
With Mesh Wi-Fi, you’ll place several smaller, connected devices around the house. Instead of having one central routing hub linking Wi-Fi signals via radio waves to the modem, you’ll have many access points (also known as satellites) capturing and rebroadcasting the routing signals you need for connectivity.
Benefits of Mesh Wi-Fi
Having ready access to a strong, reliable Wi-Fi signal wherever you are in your home is a good thing, but that’s not the only advantage of Mesh Wi-Fi. Other benefits include:
Just as with traditional Wi-Fi, the security of your Mesh Wi-Fi will depend on your keeping your router devices safe. This means:
Want to learn more about dealing with slow connectivity or dead spots in your home? Give us a call at 715-255-0325. Our experts can help you decide on the best Wi-Fi connectivity option for your needs.
Not all that long ago, the best way of securing your primary means of transportation was to tie your horse to a piece of timber – ensuring you used a decent knot, of course. These days, when you buy a new car, you expect that it will come with robust security features that go well beyond the ability to lock the doors. An immobilizer, central locking, and maybe even an alarm for good measure would be the three you’d accept at a minimum. Yet, despite the leaps and bounds we’ve seen with technology over the past few decades, many people still leave their precious devices simply ‘tied up’ and hope for the best. However, for those who recognize that their devices are the best means of navigating and traversing our vast digital world, Windows 10 offers some of the best security on the market.
The latest version of Microsoft’s desktop and mobile OS boasts three critical in-built security features designed to keep your data and devices safe.
1. Device Guard
Most of us are blindly trusting of our apps – after all, if they’ve made it to the App Store or Google Play, they must be legitimate, right? Well, not always. In November 2018, Google had to remove 13 apps from the Play Store – including two that were trending – as they were just malware with no functionality. While the lesson is to be vigilant with anything you’re uploading, regardless of the source, it’s nice to know that Windows 10 offers an added layer of protection. Device Guard blocks executable and script-based malware. It also allows organizations and individuals to identify trusted apps, giving them exclusive permission to run updates and perform other automatic functions. Importantly, Device Guard has been endorsed by such major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as Acer, Lenovo, and HP.
Passwords have long been the gold standard of personal security when it comes to IT, but they have a crucial flaw: the more secure they are, the harder they are to remember. As a result, such efforts as ‘password’ and ‘12345678’ continue to top ‘worst password’ lists year after year. But what can you do? Well, instead of addressing the symptom, Windows 10 aims to treat the cause. Microsoft Passport gives Windows 10 users a safe and easy way to access password-protected services. Users first complete an easy two-factor authentication process that requires a PIN or biometric signature and an authorized Windows device. Once authenticated, users can select a unique gesture to use for future log-ins. This allows Windows to complete other logins (for example, to online services) on the user’s behalf. It’s not only safe, it’s also a convenient solution – after all, not only are gestures harder to crack than passwords, they’re also much harder to forget.
3. Windows Hello
Not content with gestures to keep your precious data safe? Then it’s just as well the new system is also packing Windows Hello. Hello works with Passport to provide enterprise-grade security – again, without the need for a password. Instead, Hello allows you to teach your device to recognize a unique biometric, such as reading your fingerprint or scanning your face or iris with your device’s built-in camera. To make it even safer, the authentication data is encrypted and, to protect it from online assailants, stored only on your device. Moreover, along with helping to beef up your device’s privacy and protection, Hello also improves efficiency, getting you logged on as much as three times faster than a password. Thanks to technologies like these, Windows 10 is one of the most secure operating systems ever developed. Combined with modern hardware, your PC will be a tough nut to crack.
Ultra-small, powerful, and versatile, the ThinkCentre M90n Nano takes the desktop standard to a whole new level of convenience. Powered by the latest-generation Intel®️ processors and backed by SSD storage, the Nano makes everyday computing seem effortless. The 0.35L Nano is 65% smaller than a ThinkCentre Tiny and can easily fit in any office environment. Compatible with Tiny-in-One (TIO) and USB Type-C docks and monitors, the Nano can give your business productivity a welcome boost.
Stop by our office and check it out in person, or download the datasheet below!
When was the last time you held an actual photo album or prints of photographs in your hands? Maybe you look back at older photographs only when Facebook’s TimeHop app reminds you of a pic from five years ago. If so, you may be risking your visual history.
Facebook is a great way to share photos with friends and family around the world. You get to enjoy their comments and the affirmation of their likes. But using Facebook as storage for your photos is not a good plan. Here’s why.
Some people treat Facebook as their photo album archive. They delete the originals from their devices or digital camera when they need more space. But Facebook compresses images for faster download. It satisfies impatient social media users, which means photo quality suffers. If you wanted to print those photos in the future, they wouldn’t look as good as the originals.
That’s not the only drawback. When you trust Facebook with all your photos, you’re letting a company control your visual archive. It’s hard to imagine, given Facebook’s reach today, but what happens to your photos if the company goes defunct? We don’t know. The people who were keeping their photos on Myspace in 2006 might have an idea. The younger crowd is already moving onto other social platforms. Plus, Facebook’s growth rate in North America and Europe is slowing. Those daily active users are the primary source of revenue. So, you know Mark Zuckerberg is in some meetings about that.
Even if Facebook continues as the business behemoth it is today, we don’t know what policy changes it might make. It could change its terms of service whenever it wanted (if you even read those in the first place). Users have no guarantee for how long Facebook will store their images or any type of content.
Keep in mind also that many of the photos showing up in your timeline are actually taken by friends. Facebook provides an entire album of other people's photos when they've tagged you, but if they decided to untag you or remove it, that photo would be gone.
Finally, there’s also the risk of your account getting shut down or hacked. You’ve probably had friends warn you not to accept any new friend requests from them because they’ve been compromised. You wouldn’t want a thief to steal all your photo albums. Similarly, you don't want a cybercriminal to gain access to all your images.
Just as with data, we recommend you have a “3-2-1” backup system for your digital photographs. This means having three copies of the photos you care about. You don't need to back up the blurry ones if you don't want to. You might keep one copy on the original device, but you’d have two other copies of the high-quality, uncompressed, original image as well. One might be kept on an external storage device such as a USB thumb drive, and the other you could upload to cloud storage.
The cloud backup gives you access to the photos from any device in any location. So, if a flood, hurricane, or fire devastates your home, and you lose your device and the USB thumb drive, you still have a backup. Your Facebook photos and videos are just there to be shared with friends and family.
Not sure where or how to safely store your photos and videos? We can help! Our experts may even become new Facebook friends. Then we can all like each other’s photos with the peace of mind that the original photos aren’t going anywhere.
When we accidentally delete something, it feels like the end of the world. If a client file or new presentation is deleted, you may have to start again. Oh no! Yet deleting files is not as permanent as you may think. When it comes to destroying data properly, you’ll want to take a more thorough approach.
Deleting items, or "trashing" them, doesn’t permanently remove them from computer memory. While the data is still stored on your device’s hard disk, it’s possible someone could restore that deleted data.
Data does reach a point at which it’s no longer useful, and you are no longer required to maintain it. Nevertheless, it may still be valuable to cybercriminals. Bad actors can use names, addresses, credit card numbers, banking accounts, or health data. You need a policy to destroy paper records, magnetic media, hard drives, and any storage media.
Your obligation to protect customer and staff information extends to properly destroying all identifying data. Installing a new operating system isn’t going to do it. Encryption doesn’t do the job if the cybercriminal can figure out the password.
Some industries require you to prove you have correctly destroyed all data. Even if you have no compliance standards to meet, carefully dispose of any computer-related device. Whenever you are recycling, discarding, or donating an old computer, disk drive, USB stick, or mobile device, make sure the data is already properly deleted or destroyed. Otherwise, criminals could get their hands on confidential business information.
Fully, Safely Destroying Your Data
So, what do we mean by “properly” destroyed? You know about shredding paper documents. You can do the same with some devices. You might send the computer or device to a company with a mega-shredder. When compliance matters, keep a record of the chain of custody of the data throughout the process.
Overwriting the data, often called zeroing, is another solution. No data is properly deleted until it’s written over – that’s where the information is hidden under layers of nonsensical data and cannot be retrieved through disk or file recovery utilities. Think of this as writing three new books over the top of the pages of an erased book rather than just ripping the pages out.
With magnetic devices, you can neutralize the magnetism (degaussing) to break down the data. This scrambles up the data beyond recovery. A strong degausser will turn the device into a shiny metallic paper weight. An ultraviolet erase could be necessary for some erasable programmable memory. You might also need to perform a full chip erase.
If you’re really committed to destroying data, physically destroy the device. There’s the shredding solution, or you might pay to have the device smelted or pulverized.
Other Components with Data to Destroy
Don’t forget proper disposal of printers, too. Run several pages of unimportant information (maybe a font test) before destroying a laser printer. With an impact printer (if you still have one!), you’d want to destroy all ribbons, too. One last element you might think about? Business monitors. You’ve probably seen a computer screen with information burned onto it. Before donating or recycling a monitor, inspect the screen surface and destroy the cathode ray tube.
Now, that’s what we call being thorough about properly destroying data. Need help with proper disposal of computer data or equipment? We can help. Contact our experts today at 715-255-0325!
Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids’ candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit.
#1 A Slow-Running Computer Has A Virus
A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower:
Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. If only. Macs do get viruses; they are simply targeted less than PCs. Why? There are many more computers running Windows, which means a bigger, easier target for cybercriminals.
As Apple’s market share rises, the threat to Macs is growing. Apple works to protect its users from malware, but you still need to use caution with downloads and when clicking on links from unknown sources.
#3 My Windows Registry Needs Cleaning Up
Registry cleaning companies will say that scanning your Windows registry can speed up the computer and avoid error messages. The cleaner finds unused registry keys and any malware remnants for removal.
But let’s consider the fact that Microsoft has not released its own registry cleaner. Why not? Because it’s really not necessary. Worse still, going in to clean your registry (when you don’t know what you’re doing) can actually do serious damage.
#4 My Laptop Battery Needs to Be Dead Before I Recharge If I Want It to Last Longer
This was once true. Nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries suffered from what was called a “memory effect.” If discharged and recharged to the same point several times, they would remember that point in the future and not go further.
Now, however, laptops typically come with lithium-ion (or Li-ion) batteries. They don’t suffer from this memory effect. In fact, they function better with partial discharge instead of letting the battery run down to zero.
#5 I Don’t Have Anything Hackers Would Want
Cybersecurity should be a priority for everyone, not only sprawling enterprises. Let’s put it this way:
Keep all your computers at top speed with the best security measures in place with the help of our experts. Contact us today at 715-255-0325!
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