Few of us are big fans of change. It can be easier to keep on going down that same path or use that same computer software; it’s comfortable and familiar. As of January 10, 2023, however, Microsoft has stopped providing support for Windows 8.1, which means you need to make a change.
If you're still on Windows 7, it’s really time. Microsoft stopped providing security updates and technical support for that in January 2020. Microsoft did launch an extended service update (ESU) period for Windows 7, but that’s over, and there’s no ESU program for Windows 8.1.
Microsoft recommends moving to a new device that can run Windows 11. They warn against "performance and reliability issues" with older, unsupported operating systems. Another option? Upgrade your current device and install a newer operating system on it.
Now, you might be suspicious, thinking, “they just want more of my money,” but the manufacturer has already been providing support for both of these tools for ten years. Plus, computing is changing enough that they need to keep up with new iterations of Windows. Then, they focus their attention on keeping the latest releases updated and secure.
Benefits of upgrading to Windows 11
According to Statcounter data in 2023, Windows 11 is only on 15.44 percent of Windows systems right now. Windows 10 has the majority (over 70 percent), but if you’re one of just under 10 percent of users still on Windows 7, make the change now.
Cybercriminals know that people will wait to make the change, and they find ways to exploit the weaknesses of unsupported software. You are particularly vulnerable when relying on Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Windows 11 is the latest Microsoft offering. They have worked to reduce risk from the latest cybersecurity threats. With Windows 11 you can better protect your files and cut the risk of today’s viruses and malware.
The new operating system is built to be more efficient. Microsoft has tweaked the Windows layout and navigation to help users find what they need and perform tasks more easily.
Not sure what version of Windows you’re using? In the bottom left of your screen, click on the Start Menu and press the Windows button on your keyboard. Then, type "system". Click either the System or System Information icon. You’ll see your Windows version listed at the top of the window that opens up.
Upgrading to Windows 11 from 7 or 8 isn’t free. Only Windows 10 users can upgrade at no cost. Also, to upgrade to a Windows 11-compatible device, you’ll need to make sure you get a security chip called TPM 2.0. It’s unlikely you’ll find that chip on a computer more than four years old.
Need help with your Windows software? We can help. Contact us today at (614) 233-1648. We’re here to help!
Avoid This Top IT Mistake
Being patient and budget-conscious is key to running a successful business. But taking a “wait and see” approach with business tech is a big IT mistake.
Deciding to put off replacing older devices or legacy hardware, you may be thinking, "What’s one more year?" Actually, it can make a big difference. Your systems may have vulnerabilities that cyberattackers will leverage. Your hardware may not be able to keep up with your business during its busy times, and your people could be working on devices that are no longer supported by the manufacturer. If something does go wrong, you’re on your own.
Investing in business tech is inevitable. You know you’re going to need it. But taking the wait-and-see approach simply puts you at risk of a cyberattack or other productivity drains. Keeping your IT current and investing in this essential area can benefit employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and your business's bottom line.
Not sure what technology to focus on while working within your budget? Our IT experts at Nice Guy Technology can help. We’ll get to know your systems and your unique needs. Then, we'll make suggestions about the smartest investment areas for your business. Contact us today!
We’re here to help!
Why Your SMB Needs Cybersecurity
For small businesses, it can be tempting to postpone cybersecurity efforts. There are many common excuses: “There’s so much to do,” “There’s not enough budget,” “Our business is too small to target.” But right now, cybersecurity is a must-have for every business.
Small businesses are not only at risk of cyberattacks, but social engineering attacks as well. According to a study by security company Barracuda Networks, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees are three times more likely to experience social engineering attacks than larger businesses.
In fact, your business may already have been attacked. The Barracuda study found that one in five organizations had at least one account compromised in 2021. Hackers need only one account to launch from, so an attack can spread without you knowing if you don’t have the right detection and protection tools in place.
Here's some advice for small business leaders:
The damage caused by one compromised account can be devastating for a small business. But, your business can be protected with the help of a managed service provider like Nice Guy Technology. We can identify any weak points in your cybersecurity and help put safeguards in place to defend your business. Contact us today! We’re here to help!
We were thrilled to join Brett and Carol from Circle270Media on their podcast "Looking Forward Our Way" discussing the topic: "Age Doesn't Limit Tech Savvy Experiences"
Nice Guy Technology's younger members fielded many of the questions to provide their take on technology as it relates to the more mature user.
Questions hone in on how we can ensure that our family, friends, and colleagues who are not as adept at technology can use it and maintain a safe computing environment.
You can check out the episode here: https://lookingforwardourway.com/age-doesnt-limit-tech-savvy-experiences/
As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at (614) 233-1648.
Business IT Myths
When we think of myths we usually think of stories that seem possible but you never know if it’s true or not. Sometimes myths are harmless, but when it comes to business IT myths, not knowing the truth is damaging. Let’s look at some of these myths in more detail and find the truth.
Myth 1: Apple computers can’t get viruses.
While there are fewer malware programs written that target Macs, they are just as vulnerable to viruses as their Windows counterparts. Whether you use a Mac or Windows computer, you want to first, Run a solid, business grade antivirus/anti-malware product, second, You want to protect against human error by educating employees about the dangers of downloading applications and clicking links in phishing emails.
Finally, Put security measures in place to prevent physical theft or loss. Make sure your Mac is password-protected, backed up, kept in a safe place, and set up with Find My Mac.
Myth 2: One backup is enough.
Having one backup is a great start, however, we recommend taking a hybrid approach to backing up your data. This means having both a local and cloud-based backup. The local backup is important to have because it’s quick and easy to restore from. The cloud-based backup would be crucial to getting your business back up and running if your local backup was destroyed.
Myth 3: Antivirus software completely prevents infection.
Antivirus software is valuable, yes, and your business should consistently upgrade its antivirus software. But no antivirus is going to protect your business from every threat.
Security programs do their best to keep up with new threats and vulnerabilities, but infections can spread across the internet quickly. Plus, bad guys are getting better at making threats that evade current antivirus software. As a result, make antivirus software only one piece of your cybersecurity plan.
Myth 4: Cybercriminals only target enterprises.
Attacks on big brands are the ones that get noticed, but nearly half of all cyberattacks hit small businesses. The criminals know that small businesses are less likely to have proper protection in place.
Myth 5: It’s OK to wait until the computer fails to replace it.
You can wait, but it’s not going to be the best thing for your business. Long before a computer fails it could be slowing you down. Older PCs disrupt productivity and reduce employee satisfaction.
As the computer ages, things go wrong, it costs you time and money. Outdated technology also leaves your business vulnerable to cyberattack.
Myth 6: IT outsourcing is not effective for small businesses.
Maybe you think your IT systems are too small to need ongoing maintenance or monitoring, or (Myth 4) that you’re not at risk. IT systems of any size need ongoing, consistent attention, and outsourcing can give you back the time needed to focus on running your business.
A managed IT service provider can monitor hardware and backups, streamline systems for speed, and keep security current. An MSP can also manage firewalls, and identify and protect against threats. Partner with us for business IT support. We’re here to help!
You can’t expect to remember all your unique passwords. Yet the days of writing them down on Post-it notes are over. Here’s where password managers come in.
Password managers generate, manage, and store many different passwords. So instead of having to remember all your login information, the password manager stores and auto fills that for you. Many password managers have apps you can use on mobile devices. This gives you the advantage of convenience not only on your desktop computer but also on the go.
More Benefits of Password Managers
Some password managers offer added security benefits, as well. They might:
· warn you of weak password and login credentials;
· remind you to change your passwords;
· notify you if your passwords may have been compromised in a breach;
· advise you against repeating access credentials if you’re about to do so.
Another advantage is that you can conveniently share passwords with others. Maybe you want to allow a work colleague access to applications you’re using remotely. A managed password sharing feature can allow them to see selected passwords. You can choose what information is shown so important details stay private. Also, when you change your credentials, the password will change on their end, too.
You can also use a password manager to secure other important information such as credit card numbers or other personally identifying information. Keeping that kind of data in an unencrypted note on your desktop or mobile device is unsafe, but you can take advantage of password manager encryption to safely store those precious details.
Secure your passwords with a manager
Contact our IT experts today to find out more about password management. We can help you find and implement the best solution for your needs. We’re here to help!
Are you still using Office 2010? It may have served you well over the past decade, but this software reached its end of life in 2020. It’s time to upgrade. Here’s why and what to consider.
Software has a typical life span, after which the manufacturer turns its resources to supporting a more recent release. Support for Office 2010 ended on October 13, 2020. Microsoft no longer provides tech support, or bug or security fixes. That means there’s no protection from harmful viruses, spyware, or other malicious software. The software won’t be updated, and there’s no more phone or chat support if you run into trouble.
Cybercriminals know that Office 2010 users are on their own. They’re on the lookout for businesses relying on this legacy software. Without updates, you risk opening a document designed to leverage an unpatched exploit.
What can you do?
Move your business computers to one of the more modern Microsoft software offerings. You can choose to upgrade to the latest version of Office as a one-time purchase, or buy a Microsoft 365 subscription to the latest features, security updates, and other improvements.
The currently available version of Office, Office 2021, is available for PC or Mac. You can install Office only on one device, and you’ll get support and fixes during its lifecycle period only. New features aren’t offered.
Before deciding to go with Office 2021, consider Microsoft 365 (MS 365). MS 365 gives you access to Office’s cloud-connected features across devices, plus, 1 TB of OneDrive storage, Office mobile apps, Skype minutes, and access to support.
As new MS 365 features become available, all subscribers get access on a monthly basis. With a business account, the administrator can control when you are able to see them.
Is MS 365 for Us?
You may want to keep everything on-premises for compliance or regulatory reasons, or perhaps you feel better with everything where you can see it. You can upgrade to Microsoft 365 and use offline versions of their software.
Still, for many, MS 365 appeals because it’s on the cloud, or both on-premises and in the cloud. Employees can use familiar tools such as Word or Excel installed on desktops, then save files to the cloud. This makes work available anywhere, from mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices.
Microsoft 365 also adds in Teams. Enjoy video conferencing, screen sharing, group chat, calling and Teams collaboration software.
Then, you always have the latest version of Office, Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype. Your subscription sets you up with the latest version without the need for a major migration.
MS 365 comes in several different business packages. The Basic version provides free Web and Mobile only, along with Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams. If you don’t need those four services, save money using the free, web-only Office 365 Online version.
Ignoring Office 2010's end date could be costly. Don’t risk a disaster. Upgrade your old-school Office software today.
If upgrading seems overwhelming, our IT experts can take it on. A managed service provider can suggest the best software for your business needs and set it up, too. Let us help! Call us now at (614) 233-1648.
Ever met someone that was happy their computer stopped working? Neither have we. When your technology fails, you need it fixed fast. Yet, depending on the problem, it could take hours or possibly days. However, just a little maintenance and preparation could keep the downtime to a minimum, or even prevent it from happening at all.
What do I mean by this? Let’s compare the traditional break-fix model of dealing with technology issues to a more proactive approach called managed services.
The break-fix model is short-term solution and just like it sounds. When something breaks, you try to get it fixed. And it since things always break at the absolute worst time, you’re usually trying to get it fixed as soon as possible.
If you happen to have someone you regularly turn to for tech issues, then hopefully they have the time in their schedule to help you with your emergency. If not, you either have to wait or find someone else that can help you now.
If you don't have someone you've used before, you'll need to ask around, look at reviews, find someone with expertise with your apps, services, or network. Then, you'll probably need to make several calls until you find someone that can come out now.
Then you have the issue of trusting someone new with your computer, server, network, and passwords. A business has good reason to be wary of giving that kind of access to someone they are hiring on a one-off basis.
The break-fix model can definitely get messy.
On the other hand, the managed services model is a long-term solution. When you work with a managed service provider (MSP), they get to know your setup and your business needs. They monitor your computers and network so they can resolve small problems before they become bigger issues. They also help protect you from threats to your technology like malware, hardware failure, equipment theft, and even natural disasters. And in the event a disaster strikes, they have the plan and resources to get you up and running as quickly as possible.
The managed service provider will also have the advantage of already knowing your business systems and how you use technology. As a trusted advisor already supporting your business, they can find and resolve problems more quickly. They don’t have to learn your IT setup from scratch, especially if they were the ones that set it up in the first place!
Your managed services partner can also take precautionary measures when they know you’re coming up on your busy season. Alternatively, they'll know when your business slows down, so they can schedule any time-consuming updates or system upgrades when it’s more convenient.
Working with a managed services provider has benefits beyond dealing with downtime issues, too. They are partner invested in your business success. They can offer valuable input to improve your productivity and streamline your business processes. They can help you budget for necessary upgrades and help you plan as your technology needs change.
As you can see, there are many benefits to working with a managed services provider beyond just when things go wrong. Don’t wait for a downtime disaster to seek out someone to get you back in business. Instead, partner with a managed services provider to avoid those problems in the first place. As always, if you have any questions or would like more information, we’re here to help!
Data is everywhere. It’s on your computers, in the cloud and even on your phone. Email, payment methods, years of records, personal client information, licenses to software. Your business needs all of this to function, but it could all go away in an instant. It could be lost in a fire, flood, theft, even ransomware. How do you prevent this type of disaster? Well, you can’t stop it but you can be ready for it.
When it comes to your business, preparation is key. The best way to prepare for the inevitable is to have a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan (or BCDR).
While there are many facets of having this kind of plan, one of the best pieces of advice we can give you is to back up your data!
When the unexpected occurs, whether it be a natural disaster, virus or any other threat, it would be impossible to remember or recreate all your electronic files. How long would your business be down? How much money would you lose? However, if you have a good backup, you can recover.
We recommend taking a hybrid approach to backing up your data. This means having both a local and cloud-based backup. The local backup is important to have because it’s quick and easy to restore from. The cloud-based backup would be crucial to getting your business back up and running if your local backup was destroyed. This gives your business the best chance of recovery when disaster strikes.
If you’d like to learn more about backing up your data or creating a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan, we’re here to help!
Keep Your Business Safe in 2022
A new year means a fresh start and the chance to get your business’s security in check. Whether you have 6 employees or 600, every business is vulnerable to a cyber-attack. Don’t risk losing time and money to a data breach or ransomware. Instead:
· Use a business grade antivirus product.
· Secure your email.
· Put a disaster recovery plan in place.
· Backup data in more than one place.
· Educate employees about cyber safety.
· Prohibit third-party apps on work devices.
· Set devices to notify remote workers when they may be connecting to unsafe networks.
Technology and security are areas where you don’t want to cut corners. Check with your IT department to make sure you’re implementing these security measures. We want your business to stay safe and protected this year.
As always, if you have any questions or would like more information, we’re here to help!
(614) 233-1648 (Voice)
(614) 233-1495 (Text)
1078 Goodale Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43212