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Business success will only come if your people have the right tools for the job. And when it
comes to computing hardware, a one-size-fits-all approach will simply not cut it. Just as a
tradesperson needs the specialized tools relevant to their trade, so office workers require the
right computing equipment for their particular roles.
Professionals such as engineers, architects, scientists, developers, data analysts, videographers
and CAD and graphic designers will likely require much more computing power than your
average employee. Here’s why you need to hook them up with a high-end workstation computer.
Multitasking Made Possible
Insufficient computing power risks creating bottlenecks in your workflows as your employees are held captive by long processing times. That’s why most high-end workstation computers are
optimized for multitasking. They enable team members to jump from task to task with the
processing power they require to get multiple things done concurrently. That will deliver
dividends to your project timelines, since key workflows are not held up by lagging hardware.
Super-Charged Performance Engineering
Most high-end workstation computers undergo rigorous control testing to ensure they can hit the
high-level performance standards you’d expect from a state-of-the-art machine. In the design
phase, expert attention is paid to aspects such as airflow and thermal properties to ensure the
machine is primed for high and stable performance over a long period. Think of it like a race car
versus a standard production car: While a production car is designed and built to get you from A
to B, a race car is designed to ensure it delivers maximum performance from "go" to "whoa."
From major construction projects to the latest in product design, visuals play an enormous role
in today’s business environment. If you want the cash to fund your project, you need to wow
investors with a superbly-articulated vision. High-end workstation computers offer the
professional-grade CAD graphics and 3D-rendering capability you need to stand above your
competitors. Leave the tired old slideshow presentations to the amateurs.
Scale Up When You Need To
We don’t need to tell you that software is developing at incredible speed, and what’s considered cutting edge today will be old news tomorrow. Here’s where the real return-on-investment value of a high-end workstation computer comes into play. Most can be configured with a greater number of processors – and more powerful processors – than a standard PC. So you can set up
your hardware today to meet the software demands of tomorrow, and ensure you’re well placed to immediately capitalize on new functionality without the need to update your entire PC fleet.
Large Project Capability
Large projects require a lot of memory. Hi-res images, video content, 3D renders, virtual tours,
CAD plans and huge volumes of data can all send the size of your project files into the
stratosphere, and the sky is the limit with high-end workstation PCs. Some also come
with error-correcting code memory (ECC memory) that prevents the vast majority of memory
errors that can cause data loss and other workflow holdups.
Huge Internal Storage Capacity
High-end workstation computers can be configured with multiple terabytes of internal storage.
That means your people can work on several large projects on one machine. It’s also good news
for confidential or sensitive projects that you may want to isolate to a single workstation that is
not connected to your network or otherwise specially protected from cyber threats. Also keep in mind that workstations with large hard disks are capable of transferring huge volumes of data at much greater speeds than a standard desktop PC.
Reliability You Can Count On
While standard desktop PCs are designed to handle general office tasks with relatively low
processing and data-transfer demands, high-end workstation computers are custom engineered to do the heavy lifting while maintaining excellent reliability. They are designed to handle task-specific loads while reducing downtime with sophisticated functionality like remote monitoring, diagnosis and repair. And that means greater productivity and the reliability to ensure far fewer blowouts in your project timelines.
Price Versus Performance
When it comes to choosing the right computer systems for your team, don’t base your decision
solely on the initial price tag. While standard desktop PCs are cheaper than high-end
workstation computers, they won’t necessarily deliver a better return on your investment.
Short-changing your specialized employees with insufficient processing, storage and general
computing power could lead to below-par project outcomes. But put the rights tools in the hands of the right people and you’ll likely see a boost in productivity along with a marked improvement in the quality of the work your team is able to produce.
There’s one solution to tech problems that everyone knows: turning the device off and then back on again. This go-to move is a bit of a joke in the IT industry. Who needs help-desk support if you can find a power switch? Surprisingly, this approach actually does solve a lot of problems. Take the Microsoft Windows Blue Screen, for instance. If you see this screen, Windows cannot continue working. Restarting the computer may be the only fix you need.
Sometimes systems will lock up, or an application will freeze, and you can’t do anything except stare at that annoying little icon indicating the computer is stuck. If it’s an application, you can try “Force Quit” (CTL + ALT + Delete in Windows, or Option, Command, and Esc on a Mac). But if that doesn’t work, you may have to force a shutdown. On a Mac you can do this by pressing Command + Control + Option + Power button. On a PC you can hold down the power button for as long as needed for the computer to shut off.
Don’t worry, modern computers are designed to endure unexpected shutdowns. However, it’s definitely safer to use the power button than to pull the plug from the electrical outlet.
When you have issues with internet or network connectivity, powering off your computer may again be the solution. By turning the computer off, you reset its connections to the router, server, or even ISP. This ensures the appropriate information to get online is being communicated back and forth. That doesn’t work? Try powering off the router or modem. The same explanation applies, only now you’re resetting the connection from the other side. Some modems and routers do not have a power button, in that case you can unplug the power cord, count to 10, and plug it back in.
A Couple of Cautions Before powering off the device, if possible, save documents and close open windows. Unexpectedly turning off a computer may cause data corruption in any files you had open. Make sure that you’re not devastated by a computer freezing up by remembering to save regularly. It is also worth making multiple, incremental copies of your work as you make your way through it. For example, File v1.doc, File v2.doc, etc. You can do this using the “Save As” function.
Keep in mind that when turning something off and on again as a quick fix, you don’t want to go too quickly. Keep the device powered off for 5–10 seconds. This will give it the necessary time to reset.
It is important to note that modems and routers often have a Reset button, this should not be confused with a Power button. The Reset button is usually quite small and recessed to prevent accidental use. The reason for this is because the Reset button will clear all settings and put the device back to a factory state. Doing this to your modem or router will usually terminate your Internet connection and remove any customized settings like wireless network name (SSID), passwords, etc. At that point, you may need to contact your IT company or service provider to get up and running again.
Also, you probably want to avoid turning your computer off and on many times in a day. If you use the device a lot throughout the day, leave it on. If you are taking advantage of a maintenance plan from an IT service provider, they may require you to leave your computer on as well, and they’ll handle any restarts or shutdowns required.
Nevertheless, restarting a computer or any device remains a good way to get it back to the way it was. This time-honored self-service solution isn’t going to do the trick every time, though. Some issues will remain after a reboot, such as a virus infection. Or there could be a hardware issue that needs fixed.
Don’t give up hope. Speak to a professional if powering on and off isn’t the answer. You can be sure an IT expert will have some other ideas to try!
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Schools around the world have closed their doors during the COVID-19 crisis, students from kindergarten through graduate school are being asked to learn online. It’s a change for everyone but having the right technology in place can help with the transition.
Your student may have been using the Microsoft Office suite of software at school. If you do not have Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint at home, check if your school is providing licenses or free software.
If not, buying a subscription to the online Microsoft 365 package allows you to pay monthly or yearly, and it’s much more affordable than in the past. One month is about the cost of two café coffees.
Otherwise, your student may be able to get work done using Google’s suite of tools. Teachers may accept links to Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides. These free options are also useful when your student needs to work on a group project. People can collaborate online in real-time using the G-Suite software.
Teleconferencing with Teachers and Peers
Your student is likely to need to download teleconferencing software such as Zoom or Skype. Beware! Cybercriminals take advantage of every opportunity. Noticing the increased demand for these services, they’ve set up bogus sites. Make sure that you are downloading from the legitimate sources: www.skype.com or www.zoom.us.
While we’re talking about teleconferencing, you might pass on these best practices:
· Use headphones to limit audio distractions.
· Join calls from a low-traffic setting with simple backgrounds.
· Ask others at home to avoid downloading, streaming, or backing up while the student is live online.
· Connect to the router with a network cable, or at least be as close to the wireless router as possible during the call.
In addition to setting up fake teleconferencing sites, cybercriminals have other ways to exploit the situation.
Remind any students learning from home that they need to keep their username and password private. This is a lesson that never gets old.
Are you still using Windows 7 on a home computer? This popular operating system (OS) reached the end of its life in January 2020. Yes, it may still work, but it is no longer receiving security updates from Microsoft, and the bad guys know Windows 7 is vulnerable. Continuing to use this OS puts you at risk. Without new upgrades, you’re no longer protected from vulnerabilities or exploits.
You probably already know to avoid using public wireless networks. Although your students can’t go to a coffee shop or public library right now to get online, reminding students to secure their online activity is critical.
This is a good time to review your Wi-Fi setup. Too many homeowners don’t change the default username and password on their routers. Big mistake. You should also:
· set your network up to encrypt transmissions;
· update router software regularly.
A Focus on Learning
There’s one more thing parents and guardians might consider. At school, the computers prevent students from going to certain sites or downloading files, but you may not have the same blocking and filtering set up on your home devices. This can be addressed in settings.
If you have to share a computer, set up a student-specific user profile to:
· prevent your student from getting distracted during learning;
· limit exposure to malware and cyberthreats;
· avoid them accessing any of your work files.
You may feel isolated during the coronavirus quarantine, but you’re not alone. Our tech experts can help you set up and secure your technology for work or school from home.
Working from home is not for everyone – we’ve all heard that said before – but many of us worldwide are now being forced to work from home. It can be challenging, especially when you have to adapt in the midst of all the other uncertainties COVID-19 has brought. These strategies can help you stay focused when working remotely.
Reserve Your Office Space
Set up a temporary home office. Pick a space, if you can, that is away from distractions and has a door that you can close. Try to organize this space so that you feel more as if you’re going into the office. Clear those personal bills and photo albums waiting for assembly from your desk.
Creating a distinct space can help with the mental association that you are going to work. You’ll also find it easier to focus if you dress as you would for work. Shower, and put on makeup if you normally do. Getting out of your pajamas and putting on your “game face” puts you more in work mode.
Stick With Your Routines
Keeping a similar schedule can help, too. If you go to the office at a certain time every day, that’s when you should show up at your home workstation. If you took breaks at consistent times when on-site, do the same at home. This helps tell your brain it’s business as usual, even when you’re working in the laundry room on a folding card table!
You may not be able to go out and grab a coffee or eat lunch out with colleagues, but you can still go have a cup in the kitchen or order lunch from a local business that’s delivering – help them to stay in business too!
If you used to write emails first thing, do that still. If your team had a weekly conference call Wednesdays at 11, try to keep that, too. You can use voice or video conferencing to stay in touch while remaining at a safe distance.
This is going to mean different things for people. Working from home with children is tough, especially as you’re now supposed to be supervising their online learning. Giving them a dedicated space for schoolwork can help to keep them motivated and away from you. You might tell younger children to expect your attention at breaks (e.g. “I’ll play three rounds of Candyland when the big hand reaches 12 and the little hand reaches 3”).
The news and social media are other traps for those working from home. No one is watching over your shoulder, and it’s easy to think, “I’ll just check …” That’s how you lose 30 minutes of productivity watching pandas wrestle on a zoo-cam.
Still struggling? You could consider setting up one operating system account for work and another for personal use creating different browser profiles. And if you’re still getting distracted, you could install a browser plug-in that forces you to stay on track.
Setting deadlines can help you stay motivated. The longer you have to get something done, the slower you’ll work – it’s inevitable. So, maintain some pressure by setting tight, but realistic targets.
Share your deadlines with other colleagues using an online task management tool. This can help with accountability.
This is a stressful time, and you’re being asked to deal with many changes. So, you need to be patient. Working in sprints could help your motivation and attention span. You might set a timer and focus completely on work until the bell chimes. One theory is that the most productive people take a 17-minute break every 52 minutes, but you’ll want to see what works for you.
Another approach is to say you’ll do 30 minutes of good work on that thing you’re avoiding. Worst case: you get only 30 minutes of it done. At least you’re further ahead. But you might find it only takes 30 minutes to complete or that you’re so close to finishing that you keep going and get the job done.
Have the Right Tech
Make sure you have the right tools to do your job. Working from home is challenging enough, so make it easier with reliable internet and Wi-Fi connections, and access to the required files.
Need help with working from home? We can’t actually be there to cheer you on and keep you motivated, but our tech experts can get you set up with the most efficient home office solutions.
With the world grappling with a health pandemic, scams are shocking. Regrettably, bad actors are everywhere, always looking for opportunities, and they’re seeing one in the coronavirus. This article outlines what you need to watch out for and how to stay cyber safe.
The last thing you want to read right now is that there’s another threat out there – sorry, but it’s true. Cybercriminals take advantage of fear. They take timely concerns and use them to target victims. Using the anxiety and upheaval around coronavirus is their mission.
So far, several coronavirus-related attempts to cyberscam people have been reported. There are examples of:
What to Watch Out For
Another concern is the number of bogus websites registered with names relating to COVID-19. The site can look legit but is set up to steal information or infect the victim’s computer with malware.
You may get an email promising the attached information offers coronavirus safety measures, or information shared by the World Health Organization (WHO) if you click on the link, or a similar email pretending to be from a reputable news source, such as the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
In another example, an email impersonating a healthcare company’s IT team asked people to register for a seminar "about this deadly virus.” Anyone who didn’t question why IT was organizing the meeting clicked to register. By filling out the form, they gave their details to hackers.
What to Do
Be cautious. It’s understandable that you’re anxious, but don’t let that stop you from taking cyber precautions. You should still:
If you’re still not sure about the validity of the communication, check it out. Do so by calling or using another medium to get in touch with the “source” of the received message.
While there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, you can put anti-virus protection on your computer. Also, make sure that you’ve applied all available security updates to keep your software safe.
We hope you’ll take care and stay healthy both physically and online in these tough times.
Need help installing security software and keeping your technology safe? Our cybersecurity experts can give your home a tech immunization.
Let’s be realistic. You don’t care about information technology (IT). Or, you do, but only so far as it supports you getting the things you care about done. You’d rather not think about IT at all. Many businesses are that way. That’s fine by us. We care enough about IT for all our clients.
You love developing products, designing campaigns, or determining financial strategy for clients. A managed services provider loves supporting you in doing those things. You don’t have to get bogged down in the nitty-gritty of networks, systems, software, and applications. We will. Happily.
The thing is, we typically aren’t aware of what we don’t know. You may have more of a general feeling of unease. You wonder if:
· your business could be performing better;
· your team could be collaborating more;
· your processes could be more efficient;
· you have the right answers to cybersecurity risks and issues;
· your business has the best technological tools to meet its needs.
But the learning curve seems too steep, and you have other things to be doing for your business. Researching new technologies, weighing upgrades, keeping up with cybersecurity, and maintaining and monitoring IT are responsibilities you’d rather avoid.
Yet being uninformed is not going to work as an excuse in a breach, and your employees expect high-quality technology in their work. To recruit and retain people who drive business success, you need IT to support mobility, efficiency, and productivity. Your people want the tools to work smarter, not harder.
That’s why many businesses turn to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) for help.
MSPs Make Your IT Their Business
So, IT isn’t what interests you. That’s fine. Partner instead with a service provider focused on IT. You can keep doing what you do best and care most about. But you can be confident your IT strategy is smart and secure.
Plus, you can save money working with an MSP. For one, the MSP gets to know business processes and objectives to help your IT infrastructure run better.
Your IT partner will identify opportunities for greater efficiency. Perhaps you’re paying for software licenses you don’t need, or you could gain greater mobility and improve business continuity with cloud migration.
Your MSP partner will do the research to make sure your business is benefiting from its IT savvy. The MSP doesn’t gain from selling you more than you need. This expert team shops around for the right plans (whether office broadband, hardware, or cloud subscriptions). Even small businesses can access the best technological tools.
The MSP can also provide server monitoring and IT maintenance services. You may know you need antivirus protection and firewalls, but that may not be enough. Your IT partner can do a cybersecurity assessment. This lets your business be proactive instead of trying to fix problems later. Gartner estimates business downtime can cost as much as $5,600 per minute or around $300,000 per hour. That’s a financial hit you want to avoid.
Plus, the right MSP tailors its services to your workload size, regardless of company size. The goal is to match your business with the right technology to do things better and cheaper. It may not interest you, but it’s a fun challenge for our IT experts.
Don’t leave your technology and cybersecurity needs unattended. Be proactive with an MSP as your IT partner. Our experts guide IT strategy, secure systems, and suggest solutions to achieve your business goals.
Working from home is a big change in an already tumultuous time. Yet there’s a bright side. The quarantine could be your opportunity to reinvent how you work — for the better. Migrating to Microsoft Office 365 has benefits now, plus when you’re back to business as usual.
Office 365 is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office. With a subscription, you get both the desktop and online versions of apps you already know. This includes Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, and more.
Office 365 enables collaboration in many ways, on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. For example:
Working in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office Apps you can collaborate simultaneously. There’s no need to email back and forth. In fact, you can even see different people creating and editing together in real time.
Remote Work with Teams
Microsoft Teams at its core is a chat program. But it does so much more. On all your devices, both iOS and Android, Teams allows “channels”. You can have company-wide or small task group channels. Or use a separate channel to instant messaging to a single person.
You can also invite clients or customers into channels to join the discussion. Additionally, you can set up security features that filter what they can access. You don’t want them to know the ingredients to your secret sauce!
Within Teams channels users can share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Teams also integrates with other software. The options include Zendesk customer support, Asana project management, or Zoom video conferencing.
Using Teams in Office 365 creates a streamlined platform for remote work.
Remote Work with OneDrive
Working on premises, your users always had access to the business file server. OneDrive is the cloud equivalent. Yet, since it’s online, it’s always accessible. Microsoft’s hosts the file storage to let you access and share work files from all your devices.
Employees can even work offline. Any changes or edits to files automatically upload when you next connect.
Share OneDrive folders or files with external partners as well. Again, you can secure access with limits on who can see what and specify what actions they can take. You can even set up automatic access revocation after a set time limit.
Office 365 & Business Security
An Office 365 subscription protects from viruses and cybercrime. It also offers ways to recover your files from malicious attacks.
Office 365 apps update with security patches without any effort on your part. Plus, Outlook scans email attachments and checks links for viruses or phishing scams.
OneDrive helps you restore files, so they're not held captive in a ransomware attack. Office 365 also lets users encrypt email, prevent forwarding, and secure sensitive files.
Office 365 lets your business communicate and collaborate in real-time. Work on any device, anywhere, at any time. Enjoy business agility and flexibility with internal and external users.
Migrating to the cloud isn’t as simple as pressing the “start” button. Still, our tech experts can get you up and running quickly and with ease.
Online meetings are probably a part of your daily routine when working from home. We've gathered resources from our various partners to help you make your meetings as safe as possible. Please note that this information is directed towards whomever is hosting the meeting, as participants do not have control over these settings.
For Zoom Users -
With virtual meetings on the rise and hackers showing up uninvited crashing conferences, we’ve put together best practices to prevent unwanted guests from joining. These steps can be applied to Zoom and other virtual conference platforms.
• Only share MeetingID with guests. If you're taking photo shoots of the
meeting attendees and sharing screen shots publicly, don't forget to crop off
• Require a password for all meetings
• Recommend using a unique MeetingID for each meeting. This setting will also
keep up-coming meeting attendees from joining when meetings run late.
• In Zoom “Settings” set the following features:
o Join before host: off
o Screen sharing (unless required for meeting): host only
o Require password: on
o Allow host to put attendees on hold: on
o Identify guest participants in the meeting webinar: on
o Waiting room: on
Article written by Heather Myers with ADT Cybersecurity
For those of you using WebEx, here is a direct link to their best practices:
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