21-Dec-2016   |   ,,   |   0

Tip of the Week: 3 PC Maintenance Tips Every User Should Know

Keep it Clean
Keeping your PC clean is important to prolong its life cycle, as dust can build up and prevent critical airflow. Furthermore, when airflow is limited, heat can build up within your machine, which could damage the components and lead to overheating. Just be sure to keep your workspace clean and to keep the fan vents clear of obstruction, and you should be fine.

Monitor RAM Usage
RAM is one of those things in your PC that you don’t know you need more of until it’s already an inconvenience. Basically, it’s the memory in your computer that allows you to perform multiple tasks at the same time. If your PC only has 2GB of RAM in it, good luck having multiple videos open or performing other resource-intensive tasks. If your computer is running slower than normal, you can use your Task Manager app to see where your PC’s resources are being eaten up. This might hint that your machine has a security problem, too, so address any issues by contacting your IT service provider.

Install Updates and Patches
It’s important that you implement the latest patches and security updates. As without them, you’re leaving your devices exposed to potential security threats. Hackers are always creating new ways to infiltrate networks and infect systems with their malware, and many of these problems can be resolved by simply keeping your devices as up-to-date as possible. It’s a simple way to ensure that your devices won’t be compromised by developing threats.

If you’re a business owner, you’ll notice that these are also three tips that we would suggest for you to keep your IT equipment in working in proper working order. After all, your organization depends on it to stay running efficiently, so you’re only helping yourself by taking good care of your technology. If you’d rather just not worry about your technology maintenance, COMPANYNAME can handle this responsibility for you. Our managed IT services are designed to provide AREASERVED businesses the hands-off technology maintenance you need to ease your workday and concentrate on your business.

To learn more, reach out to us at PHONENUMBER.

07-Dec-2016   |   ,,   |   0

Tip of the Week: Shop Safe While Online With These 3 Common-Sense Tactics

Stick to What You Know
When making an online transaction, well-known websites can safely be considered to be more secure than the smaller, never-heard-of-it sites that a search engine may bring up, or than the opportunities search engines present to buy the item directly from the search. Large retailers, like Amazon, Walmart, and other recognizable brands have a large incentive to protect their customers from financially-motivated cyber crimes like identity theft, and so they are more likely to have considerable capital invested in their customers’ data security. The smaller sites don’t have nearly the resources or the public-opinion-driven incentive, and may even rip you off.

However, be careful that the web address is spelled properly and is using the correct domain in the URL. Hackers will generate these sites to trick their victims into falling for a phishing scam. The “great deal” they just tried to snag may ultimately allow the site to snag their credentials and financial information.

Look for the Padlock
The next time you visit a website that asks for your credit card information, check the URL again, but this time, check to see that it begins with HTTPS. HTTPS signifies that the usual HTTP, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol, has added security (hence the added S) thanks to an added secure sockets layer of encryption. There should also be a padlock icon displayed in your address bar.

These are indications that the site has been encrypted in order to safely process payment information. Sites with just HTTP and without the lock are inherently more susceptible to have their information hijacked during transit, including the information a customer inputs. Naturally, these sites should be avoided.

Be Mindful When Mobile
Many people are known to visit a store only to determine if an item is indeed the one that they want before ordering it online. Be wary if you are connected to a public Wi-Fi when doing your online shopping. Due to their high susceptibility to cyber attack, your activity while connected to these digital minefields should be limited at most, and should never include anything that involves sensitive personal or financial information.

If your online shopping ‘trip’ is informed by these tips, you should be able to remain safe and sound while you make your purchases.

What’s on your wish list this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!

30-Nov-2016   |   ,,   |   0

Tip of the Week: 4 Ways to Resolve the Blue Screen of Death

The BSOD is the result that Windows resorts to when it experiences an error critical enough to require a reboot. This is what makes it different than a simple application crash, which will usually only require you to restart the application, not the entire computer.

Typically, a BSOD will occur if your computer encounters a problem in its hardware, a driver or software issue, or is infected with a virus. As a result, a STOP Error is thrown up, Windows crashes, and the only remedy is to perform a complete reboot–at the unfortunate cost of any unsaved data that the user may have been working on.

However, not all BSODs are caused by the same problem. Some are legitimate errors, but others are clever attempts by scammers to infiltrate a device more completely. An easy way to spot the difference between real and fraudulent BSOD messages is to check for a phone number. If one is provided, someone is trying to scam you. Microsoft has never provided contact information on their Blue Screen message, only the error code and instructions on how to reboot.

If there is no phone number provided, you’ve managed to incur a real BSOD. Fortunately, the steps to resolve it are pretty straightforward.

System Restore: If you’ve been encountering the BSOD fairly regularly, it could very well be a software problem causing it. If restoring the software to a previous version resolves the issue, you have confirmed that the BSOD was software-related. This is something you should have IT handle for you, since you don’t want to backtrack over something critical.

Malware Issues: Unsurprisingly, malware can often be the cause of this particularly irksome problem. Running a quick scan should quickly root out any malware floating around on your workstation that is causing your problem. Of course, it’s best to be proactive and have a properly managed antivirus that is kept updated and ran regularly.

Boot Up in Safe Mode: By eliminating all but the essential drivers to boot your PC up, it will allow you to determine if a certain driver is causing the issue. Safe mode will allow you to work towards resolving the cause of the BSOD. You might not be able to get much work done in safe mode, but it allows a technician to access event logs and other tools to help determine the problem.

Reinstall Windows: This should be your last-ditch option, as it will completely wipe your existing operating system and replace it with a new installation of Windows. If this doesn’t fix the Blue Screen, your problem most likely lies in your hardware, such as a hard drive failing, memory error, or several other issues. Again, you should rely on an expert who understands the repercussions of reinstalling Windows. Your applications, settings, and many other factors will need to be put back into place before you can start working again.

If you’d rather not have to deal with a BSOD, COMPANYNAME can help. By managing your IT, we can predict and prevent issues that would otherwise impact your productivity. To find out more, give us a call at PHONENUMBER.