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Why you MUST shutdown or reboot your PC


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 We process approx. 30-35 computer issues each day. Many problems consist of ‘my computers running slow’ or ‘Outlooks not responding’. Our first course of action is to check the uptime of the PC (how long has it been on). If it’s over three days we perform a restart.

So what does a reboot do..? Imagine writing your daily work life on a sheet of A4 paper for ten days. That piece of paper might start to get a little messy and congested. Now imagine a fresh piece of A4 each day, much easier to understand and work from.

A PC restart is literally like a clean slate for your PC (or A4 sheet of paper in this analogy) all the memory is flushed clean, programs and Windows services are restarted from afresh.

Also any Windows updates that have been download get installed, keeping your system more secure and GDPR compliant.
Also worth noting is that your antivirus updates regularly, many of these updates get applied during a restart. Not restarting can cause your antivirus to be ‘out of date’ and lead to issues with the newer viruses.

So how often should you restart your PC, it’s pretty simple you should just shut your PC down at the end of the day! PC components only last so long so by leaving your PC on overnight you are just wearing out your computer prematurely and wasting electricity. When you drive home from work would you leave your car running overnight ready for the next morning? Didn’t think so….

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Avast Managed Workspace

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We have been testing Managed Workspace from Avast for several months and are please announce that we now have a dedicated service plan in place that incorporates all the powerful features that this software provides.

What does it do? What doesn’t it do should be more the question!

It’s basically a 24 hour monitoring system for your PC’s and Servers. Constantly checking for problems and in some cases fixing them automatically without you even knowing. The Managed Workspace system is broken down into several parts….

Security Assessment
Real-time security assessments to measure your antivirus, Windows patches, user configuration, passwords, and network security levels.

Real-time Monitoring and Alerting
Prevent unplanned downtime, sluggish system performance, and lapsed security protocols. Any issues automatically generates a support ticket for us to look into.

Windows Patch Management

Efficiently address security vulnerabilities by reviewing, approving, and automating patch deployment keeping your company compliant and more secure.

Asset Management
Easily track your company’s assets to help control IT costs, upgrades and deployments.

Task Automation

streamline service delivery by quickly resolving common issues by running automated tasks

If you’re interested in taking your IT support to a new level please give us a call or use the Contact us form.

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Bad Rabbit ***Ransomware Alert***

A new strain of ransomware has hit the internet recently. At the moment it seems constrained to Eastern Europe and has infected the Kiev metro system and Odessa airport.

The Infection starts with a fake Adobe Flash installation that is downloaded from hacked websites. The download file contains all the tools to spread itself and encrypt your data.

If you are asked by a website to update or download a Flash update please contact you IT support and DO NOT download until it has been checked.

Be safe...

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New kid on the block

We are proud to announce we are now Cisco Meraki partners… You may have heard of Cisco but what the be-jesus is a Meraki! Let me explain… Meraki was a security company with a range of network devices. Cisco snapped up Meraki and incorporated some of its high end security features- enhancing the brand even more.

Cisco Meraki devices are beautifully made and put together with  sleek aluminum bodies but it’s the configuration, cloud based administration and features that make them a dream to configure, use and deploy. Over the next few weeks I'll post some mini blogs on the features of these amazing devices and how they can have a positive impact on your business.

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Content filters are not Big Brother.

Content filters are hardware or software systems that restricts web traffic and websites browsing.

Many people think this is bad and often get frustrated that they can’t browse any website they like.

In the IT word we try and minimise risk to a computer network and systems. At the moment the internet is not a friendly place, sure its jammed packed with information, useful programs and utility’s but its also riddled with scammers and some very nasty software.

The scammers are very smart and the software they use is extremely clever and designed to circumnavigate defenses on you PC.

The best way to stop all this is to deny access to suspect websites. Content filters usually have categories like gambling, shopping, adult etc.

These sites are the target for scammers to hide their malicious software. It’s  pretty simple to block access to these sites or groups of sites.

The second benefit is your internet usage. We get many calls reporting slow internet which is very frustrating for remote sites or people working from home-only to find out Jim in accounts is watching Sky sports and Jayne the secretary has the internet radio playing on her PC.

Personally, after antivirus products a content filter is the next best defense for you network, get something in place asap!

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Firewalls.....

There seems to be many misconceptions about computer security. Over the next few Micro blogs I'll try to explain and demistify...

Firstly Firewalls. A firewall help protect networks from unwanted intrusions and hackers. Firewalls can be software or hardware and sit either on your computer or between you and the Internet (the internet is a big network you know). Most people have Firewall's and don't even realise. Most  internet routers have  firewalls, Windows XP and newer have basic built in software firewalls.

So what do they do?? Firewalls inspect the network 'traffic' and determine if its allowed through based on predefined rules, anything else gets rejected.

Basically that's it, it doesn't stop you getting viruses or downloading malicious code from websites. 

 

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RAM and Memory...

Ram chips

RAM (random access memory), or memory as its often called are small strips of circuit board that plug into you computers motherboard. RAM often get confused with disk space (hard drive) but in reality they couldn't be more different. As ever, I'll try to explain in plain english how it all works... 

RAM is the 'working space' for your computer.

As programs or files (for example a word document) are opened they a temperaraly opened in RAM. Why? You many ask... Because its fast, very fast, allowing the computers operating system to make changes quickly. Your computer is always juggling what is held in the systems RAM. As your system moves information in and out of RAM it has to store the information leaving the RAM somewhere, right? It gets stored on your hard drive, which is a drasticly slower than RAM. You may have noticed when you have multiple programs and files open your computer gets slower, this is your computer running low on RAM and  writing more and more information to the hard drive. So to answer the question I get asked a lot, "how much memory do I need?" "As much as possible" would be the answer (if it was free!!) because we want to limit the computer using the hard drive (remember its slower) but a minimum of 4 Gigabytes is a good start.

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SSD's what the hell are those..?

It's a  hard drive but a very fast one! A "normal" hard drive consists of spinning disks and arms (think record player). Whenever you want to access a program or open a file (a document) the disk spins, the arms move, it finds the relavent bit of information then reads it for your computer to digest and display it on your screen. Cool.. But this takes a bit of time. The faster the disk turns (7200rpm generally) the faster it will read the information.

SSD hard drive upgrades

So, what if there was no spinning, no moving arms and no moving parts? That would be better and faster wouldn't it? Well it is, SSD (solid state drives) are much faster, a normal spinning drive can read data at approx. 80 MB per second, (audio CD's are 650 MB to give it context), SSD's can read five times faster (and in some cases even faster). As the price tumbles and the capacity of the drives increase (the main stumbling point of SSD's) it really is becoming the upgrade of the century. Give us a call for a quote.

 

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CryptoLocker

CrytoLocker

 

 

We have seen a re-emergence of this nasty Ransomware of late. For those of you that are unaware, its’s an email-delivered file that once run, encrypts the documents on your PC (or any mapped network drive). The author will then ask for payment to unlock the files.
Please be on the look out for emails with .ZIP attachments.. Be warned once the files are encrypted they cannot be recovered. They have to be restored from a backup. If you feel you have no choice but to pay the ransom, (have in mind this is extortion) please use a pre-paid card and not your credit or debit card.
The Crypto locker virus (actually it's a program) is very difficult to stop. 
So please be very aware of emails from senders you don’t know.
Also disabling hidden file extensions in Windows may help you pick up the virus before it gets installed. Make sure your backups are good, if you get this virus you’re going to need them!!

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