It’s a jungle out there – Computer security tips

Computer Security is for everyone!

In the information technology world, computer security is important for everyone. Hackers don’t just attack the big companies and governments anymore.

Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So what can you do to keep your computer and network safe? Though there is no 100% guarantees, here is a few things that will help.

Anti-virus

The first and foremost thing that no computer should ever be without is an antivirus program. It may be the most important computer security you have. There are many free options, but Wolfe Computer Solutions does not recommend using free anti virus programs. We offer a managed anti-virus plan, or we have standard Emsisoft licenses available.

Back-Ups

Back ups are vital to your computers life.  If you keep any file of any value on your computer, back ups are beyond essential.  Do you have family videos, family pictures, financial files, your resume, your school work, your……. I think you get the point.  If you lost these how hard would it be to replace them?  Pictures and videos are frequently irreplaceable.  You need to have a physical back up (like a portable hard drive) or a cloud backup (like Carbonite) or both.

Browser

The much maligned Internet Explorer is a source of a large number of computer security issues.  Wolfe Computer Solutions suggests using Chrome from Google, or Firefox. Then be very wary about all extensions used in them.  We go so far as suggesting not using extensions at all.

Updates

Keeping the latest security updates on your Computer system.  This includes Operating system updates (Window Updates) as well as updates for all of the programs you use.  Flash, Acrobat, Office and more need to be updated as hackers can find ways in through un-patched holes in these programs.  Wolfe Computer Solutions is in the process of adding update management (or as we call it in the computer industry patch management ) to our Business Managed Service plans, as well as to our Home User computer care plans.

DNS

Using the DNS (Domain Name Service) from your internet service provider works to turn that dot com into an internet address, but there are other much more secure ways to do it.  Wolfe Computer Solutions suggests using OpenDNS for this service.  It takes a bit to set up, but once you have it working, it will block phishing sites as well you can set up some basic filtering to block gambling, pornography, and more.

E-Mail

This is one area where personal caution comes in very helpful.  If you are not expecting an invoice or attachment from someone DO NOT open it.  Remember that legitimate companies are not going to ask you to email your password.  Check the links you click and make sure that you are really going where the email says you are.

So a little focus on computer security goes a long way.  If you have questions about your set up, or would just like to talk to a professional, give Wolfe Computer Solutions a call!

307-222-9270

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The Final Countdown!

We are just about two months away from the end of a first.

Microsoft allowed for the first time to have a free upgrade to Windows 10. It is only free if you accept it in the first year. That means come July 29th, the option for a free upgrade if you have Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 will go away. It also means that, eventually, the nagging pop-up trying to convince you to upgrade will go away as well.

What does that mean for you?

In short, if you haven’t upgraded, and are thinking about it the time to decide is NOW. Microsoft will pull the plug on the free upgrade in just a few short weeks. If you wait till July 30th, you will not be able to take advantage of it.

Should I do it?

There is lots of debate about should you upgrade, and Wolfe Computer Solutions has moved to the side of yes. Why? Read on!

We have been using it since it’s inception as a testing product, and the pros are outweighing the cons. If you would like to see some of the things that we like about Windows 10, check out this earlier blog post.

As well, our studied opinion is that Windows 10 is an important platform, and one that all computer users should and will be using for the next 7-10 years. Also, as Microsoft goes, we all know that support for Windows 7 and Windows 8 will eventually discontinued and this is a great way to extend the life of your hardware.

Now what?

So if you have decided to take the plunge and move to Windows 10. What do you do?

There are 3 options:

  • Download it and do it yourself.
  • Let a “techie” friend help you.
  • Call the experts at Wolfe Computer Solutions.

However, in our experience, it is important that the upgrade be installed on a newly formatted or new new hard drive after first properly backing up important data files, programs and settings. This should be done by a professional.

As the Windows 10 Free Upgrade offer is rapidly coming to a close, we are offering a full update service (backup, Windows 10 install and data/programs/setting restoration) with a 48-hour turnaround.

Wolfe Computer Solutions is your professional in Cheyenne.

Make your appointment today:

 

307-222-9270
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But I can do it myself!

As small business owners we all think that there are certain things we can manage in our businesses ourselves. There are many of these things we are correct about this in. It is, after all, simple and cost effective to vacuum your own office rather than pay a janitorial service. However there are several things that it is safer, smarter, easier or more cost effective to hire a professional for:

Some things I would include on this list:

  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Automotive maintenance
  • Bookkeeping and Payroll
  • Information Technology

Wait you say, Information Technology? That’s just the computers! I can handle that!

Though that may be true, several questions come up:

  • Do you enjoy taking valuable time researching the little things that a professional would fix quickly and easily?
  • Do you have and maintain a disaster recovery plan?
  • What if a Hard drive goes bad?
  • What if you got a virus that encrypts every machine on your network?
  • Finally, what is you time worth? Is the time you are spending on Information Technology time you could have spent growing your business?

With a managed service plan fromWolfe Computer Solutionsyou don’t have to worry about these questions. We handle all of those concerns. All plans include a backup and disaster recovery system. We maintain your network. We keep your computers and vital programs up to date. We ensure that all of your anti virus and anti spyware programs are working and keeping the bad guys off in the first place!

Let Wolfe Computer Solutions focus on your I.T., so you can focus on your business!

The Power and Protection of the Pack!

 

Call today 307-222-9270

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Why Managed Service?

AtWolfe Computer Solutions we believe that no business is too small to utilize the services of an I.T. Managed Service Provider (MSP). A Managed Service provider can handle all of your Information Technology needs so your business can focus on growing and not on I.T. issues.

There are several very important advantages to hiring an MSP to assist your business:

  • Regular scheduled maintenance visits. Depending on your size and needs, Wolfe Computer Solutions will make regular visits to your site, either weekly (for larger small businesses), every other week (medium sized small businesses), or once a month (for very small businesses). These visits will include checking updates, virus scanning, backups and overall system health. Just like oil changes for your car, these are vital to ensure you are running at tip top shape!
  • Emergency on call visits. Included in all Managed Service plans is emergency services. Catastrophic events unfortunately happen, and Wolfe Computer Solutions is there for you when they do! Whether it is hardware failure, a nasty virus infection, or simply someone accidentally deleted that project you have spent the last month getting ready, we are here to help. This service is at no additional charge! (Except in the case of extreme after hours service i.e. between 8 P.M. and 5 A.M., or the need to purchase replacement hardware.)
  • Predictability.Every business wants, no needs, to be able to predict and control their costs. One of the major advantages you see with a Managed Service plan from Wolfe Computer Solutions is the predictability of a regular rate. If everything goes to plan and there is no issues, we are doing our job and you are happy, but if you have a catastrophe and we spend 15+ hours at your location recovering and restoring 5 or 10 computers, you are not going to have to come up with an extra $1000 dollars or more to cover it. It is all paid for in your plan
  • Vendor Management. Do you hate calling technical support for the company that built your laptop and talking to someone who seems to barely speak English? Would you love to have someone do that for you? Then you will love this benefit! Wolfe Computer Solutions will be your go between so you don’t have to talk to the outsourced technical support script reader on another continent. We do it for you!
  • Speed! In case of catastrophe we at Wolfe Computer Solutions want you up and running as soon as possible! Therefore, during regular business hours, our goal is to take your call the first time. If we cannot take it when you call, we strive to call you back within an hour of receiving your message. (We do live in Wyoming and know how cell phone coverage can be here!) Once we have talked to you, and determine that an on-site visit is needed, the goal is to be walking in to your office within 4 business hours.
  • Peace of mind! This may be the most important benefit. With a Managed Service plan from Wolfe Computer Solutions, you don’t have to worry about your technology. We keep everything running in tip top shape, so you can focus on growing your business.

Now that you see the importance and value of having a Managed Service Provider as a partner to your business, give Wolfe Computer Solutions a call and we will design a custom plan for your business. In order to do this, we will come to your office and do a FREE site survey and on-site consultation.

No business is too small! Have a Technology Professional on your side!

Call today: 307-222-9270

Server – Point, Set, Match

Like a great tennis player, a properly installed and configured server can control your business computer “game”!

Servers perform many tasks for your business:

  1. File Server – This provides a centralized storage location for all important business files. This makes collaboration and sharing a breeze in your company. Properly configured, a server hard drive can look like a regular drive to everyone in your workplace.
  2. Back up – I mentioned using a server for back ups last time. This is the most efficient on site back up tool you can buy. Many servers are set to back up every computer on your network nightly or at least once a week. Then if anything goes wrong, in a matter of minutes you can restore a few days old back up and be fully functional again.
  3. Domain controller – This sounds scary and technical to most people. So here is a simple break down: it gives complete control of what can and cannot be done on ALL of your computers. You or your administrator can determine if people can install apps, programs or updates. You can set how long all your computers set before the screen locks. Or you can leave these decisions up to the end users. This is not the same as an internet domain however.

So, in short, a server, like a tennis player can “serve up an ace” giving your business the competitive edge to move ahead in the “game”!

Call us today to schedule a FREE onsite consultation to determine if you can benefit from a server.

(Originally posted as “Server can control the game” onCheyenne Chamber of Commerceblog – May 19, 2015)

 

 

Call Wolfe Computer Solutions today at

307-222-9270

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Computer Backup – Data Insurance

Computer backup of Data is a lot like car insurance. It may cost a little up front, but if you need it and did not get it in advance, the results can be disastrous, leading to financial ruin!

There is three main ways to back up your vital data:

  1. Removable media – This is the oldest type of back up, dating back to computer floppy disks. It can include disks (DVD, CD, Blu-ray, etc.), USB hard drives, or thumb drives. Advantages include lower cost, and it is fairly easy to do. Unfortunately it is also slow, and labor intensive.
  2. Local network based – This is usually a local server. The advantages of this are it is automatic, fast, and fault tolerant. It is however expensive to set up and needs some maintenance.
  3. Cloud backup – This is internet based backup. The primary advantage is tolerance to local disasters like fire or earthquake. Disadvantages are speed is dependent on your internet connection, and there is frequently an annual or monthly fee involved.
Computer Backup Saves the day!

There are inherent advantages and disadvantages to all forms of computer backup. Wolfe Computer Solutions suggests a hybrid approach using local and cloud backups to have maximum insurance providing the peace of mind and security your business needs. Like insurance if you don’t plan ahead it can’t help you!

We include a computer backup plan as part of our small business managed services agreements. Call today to schedule your FREE onsite consultation!

No business is too small to have an IT pro on their side!

Call Wolfe Computer Solutions today at

307-222-9270

or

Email us with the form below:

(originally posted by Wolfe Computer Solutions on the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce blog as a guest post on May 12, 2015)

Ransomware – Internet Plague!

Over the last few weeks I have had several clients infected by Cryptowall 3.0, a very destructive virus making the internet rounds right now. This type of virus is known as ransomware. It infects your computer and encrypts all of your documents, pictures, QuickBooks files, etc. Then it offers to decrypt them for a “modest” fee. (Usually $500 or more.) They come in through email attachments, or rogue websites.

The encryption used by these is RSA-2048 private key. This means that the key or “password” to decode this is over 600 digits long. That is impossible to break with any modern computer. So, if you get ransomware your files will become unrecoverable.

There is only two known ways to get your files back from ransomware.

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1 – You can hope that the virus writer is ethical and will decrypt them if you pay. Reports of people who paid having success at this are very mixed at best. A survey of web sites pertaining to this show less than half of reported payments were successful in regaining their files.

2 – Be prepared. Having a solid backup plan in place before an infection will totally mitigate all damage. One of my clients got Cryptowall and it took less than two hours to restore a backup that put the infected laptop back to where it was the day before the infection hit.

Wolfe Computer Solutions specializes in helping small businesses manage their technology. Call today and schedule a FREE onsite consultation for your business.

No business is too small to have an IT pro on their side!

Call Wolfe Computer Solutions at:

307-222-9270

or

Email us using this form:

(originally posted by Wolfe Computer Solutions on the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce blog as a guest post on May 4, 2015)