Newsletter – July 2014
Is my business secure enough to be on the web?
Cyber Crime is on the rise. Every day businesses both large and small are being hacked and having data leaked to public sites, costing businesses billions of dollars a year.
Unfortunately local businesses are an international target for hackers for two simple reasons:
- We are considered to be a very rich nation by global standards and so make for an attractive victim of cyber crime.
- Many of our small businesses are comparatively relaxed about IT security and data protection.
Now more than ever we need to make sure that all of our devices are secure when we are connecting them to the internet. We need to think less about whether the Cloud is secure and more about whether our devices are secure.
What can you do?
Here are some popular precautions you can take to improve your security:
- Set-up robust firewalls on your office network. The router that your ISP provides your internet account is typically just to get you connected it will not offer the level of filtering and protection a proper firewall can.
- Encrypting the data on your devices as it travels on the internet and when stored in the cloud. Intel and other vendors offer hard drive encryption solutions especially for tablet and mobile devices so your data can only be viewed with a password.
- Use strong passwords for accessing your devices so they cannot be cracked if lost. ‘password’ is not a strong password but ‘Pa$$w0rd#’ is a very strong password and relatively easy to remember. The mix of upper and lowercase numerals and symbols changes the simple word to a very complex one.
- Use spam filters to reduce attacks by removing phishing emails and any malicious code in attachments to email messages.
- Anti-virus software is more important than ever as different forms of attacks increase. Every server, PC and device should now be protected. There is no safe ground because even the less popular products have millions of users and the size of the target is attracting more malicious attacks.
- Solid backup to ensure that when the worst happens (e.g. the latest Crypto Locker Virus) there is a path to returning systems and data quickly with minimal loss of time and data.
If you manage all these security and protection aspects then your business is safe enough to be on the web. Leave any one of these gaps open and you place your business data at tremendous risk. If you are not sure or you need some advice then please give us a call.
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Tablet or Ultrabook: How they compare
In the market for a new device? Not sure of the difference between a tablet and an Ultrabook? Despite the outer similarities the core functionality of tablets and Ultrabooks are actually quite different. When choosing between both it’s not necessarily a matter of which is better, but rather which is better for your needs. To help you decide, here’s a look at the different features of each.
1. Computing power
An Ultrabook has far more computing power than a tablet. Powered by fast and energy-efficient Intel Core processors and solid-state drives (SSD) Ultrabooks are able to match the computing power of many notebooks but without the added weight. Most tablets, on the other hand, feature smaller processors and often run on special mobile operating systems, such as Android or iOS, which simply can’t compete in terms of power and functionality.
Tablets are perfectly suited to handle a variety of everyday tasks such as surfing the web, talking on the phone and watching movies. Ultrabooks are a full-featured computer which will enable you to do everything from creating an extensive PowerPoint presentation to editing spreadsheets and more.
Ultrabooks come equipped with a physical keyboard however most tablets have a touchscreen or in some cases, a detachable keyboard. If you plan to type a lot then a tablet may not be the best choice as the smaller keyboard may slow you down.
Like tablets, most new Ultrabooks have a touchscreen and some models feature the ability to convert into a tablet or slate, you can have the best of both devices in one.
4. Weight and size
Tablets are usually thinner and lighter. Ultrabooks range from 10″ to just over 15″ and can weigh anywhere from 0.9–1.8 kg, with profiles of 0.7″ thick or less. Tablets, on the other hand, range from 5″–13″ and typically weigh between 0.2 and 0.9 kg, making them the better choice for mobility.
Surprisingly, tablets and Ultrabooks are similarly matched when it comes to ports, with both devices usually having a maximum of two USB ports (sometimes three), along with Micro HDMI, Bluetooth and Wireless.
6. Battery life
In general, a tablet will give you anywhere from 9–12 hours of battery life. With their additional computing power, Ultrabooks come in second at 5–6 hours. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
In general, tablets will be easier on your wallet, but this lower price tag generally comes with less features. At the end of the day, if it is features you are after then you are probably better off with a laptop or Ultrabook than a high-end tablet.
Hybrids bridge both worlds
If you still can’t decide between a tablet and a more powerful computing device such as a laptop, the good news is… you don’t have to. Hybrid devices, which can function in laptop, tablet, stand and tent mode, offer the convenience of a tablet combined with all the power of an Ultrabook in one machine.
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Hybrid Cloud: a solution for your IT?
The technology landscape is changing and we are being told the Cloud is going to dominate the future of IT. There are compelling reasons to move to Cloud products that offer us cost savings and the ability to scale.
What is Hybrid?
Not everything can or should go to the Cloud just yet which is why you might have heard of the term: “Hybrid”. This means that you still have a server in your business to do some of the heavy lifting but you also have some of your solutions in the Cloud. A good example of this is running your ERP or Finance systems in-house with your email and intranet in the Cloud.
What goes to the Cloud, and what stays?
To help you decide which parts to keep in-house and which parts to migrate to the Cloud, consider the following:
- Capability of the technology – If the Cloud technology now offers all of the features you require for a particular application then Cloud is a real consideration. There are many technologies that are not yet ready for Cloud.
- Perception of security – Does the Cloud provider meet your requirements for security, privacy and data sovereignty? Only put data into the Cloud if you are confident that it is protected.
- Cost of implementation – Will adopting the Cloud solution have an impact on the implementation cost or could it reduce the need for investment in internal infrastructure?
- Cost of management – To really assess the value of a Cloud solution it is best to consider its costs over a 4-year period and compare that with the cost of an in-house, server-based alternative. Although many Cloud solutions keep getting cheaper as more people use them, this will not always be the case. Use today’s price as a baseline for comparing the costs.
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The secret to getting more juice out of your notebook battery
With the rise of the laptop we have been able to stay productive, creative and entertained almost anywhere. We are no longer tied to our desks or a certain location – that is, until it is time to recharge.
The way we use our laptop significantly impacts battery life so here are a few tips to help improve overall battery performance:
1) Charge-cycle care
One of the more popular battery-saving techniques is to control how often you connect and disconnect the charger. Its effectiveness largely depends on the type of battery and laptop model you’re using. Many older notebooks feature nickel-metal batteries, while modern notebooks are built with lithium-ion batteries. For the nickel-metal variety, it can help to completely drain your battery until it shuts down, and then fully recharge it. Doing so for lithium-ion batteries, though, has been known to have a negative effect on battery efficiency.
To find out which type of battery you have, shut down your PC and release the battery. On the top or bottom of the battery, there should be a “Li-ion” for lithium-ion or “NiMH” or “Ni-Cad” for nickel batteries.
2) Screen brightness
The brighter your notebook screen, the more power it consumes. To save energy simply reduce your screen brightness. This is especially helpful when using a program that has a light/white background, such as Microsoft Word or Excel.
3) Tools and tasks
Open your Task Manager and check out just how many programs and applications are running on your computer. There’s probably more than a few you didn’t even know were running. These tools and tasks require a lot of energy.
Check to see which programs are currently running using the notification bar on the bottom right of your screen, plus look for any hidden tasks or tools. Switch off the programs that aren’t critical and deactivate any unnecessary ones that run automatically. Your IT support team can help you stop these programs from re-starting every time you boot up.
4) Sleep mode
When you are not using your notebook you can put it into sleep mode to greatly conserve battery power, especially if you expect to be away from your notebook for extended periods of time. You will need to access your power management features to control these settings and specify when you want sleep mode to turn on. You can force your PC to sleep after it has been idle for minutes or hours.
While wireless internet helps us roam wherever we want it can also drain a lot of power. Turn off your Wi-Fi capability if you are not using it as your notebook will continually search for a signal when Wi-Fi is turned on.
6) Get back-up
If you spend most of your day away from a charger then buy an extra battery so you can keep one fully charged in your notebook bag. That way, when your original battery is getting low you can just pop it out and keep working.
Make sure your laptop has a removable battery because many Ultrabook models have fused batteries that cannot be removed. Also, we always recommend buying a second battery that is made by the laptop manufacturer (“genuine”) since cheaper, non-branded alternatives usually degrade quickly.
Need advice on new IT projects, want tips for speeding up your network? Call us at 1300 732 810 for IT advice.