“Why is this computer running so slow?” It’s a common complaint. The question is whether it’s your computer or your internet connection.
You may feel your computer is moving at a snail’s pace, but it used to be cheetah-fast! You’re going to want to identify and address the issue to get back up to speed. Yet it’s hard to know whether to blame your computer or the internet, especially now that so many computer applications rely on internet connectivity.
So, how do you determine whether it’s your computer or connectivity that’s the problem? If you are having the problem only on one device in a network, you can guess it’s the computer not the connectivity. Otherwise, think about when you are having slow woes.
If you notice programs are taking longer to load up, your computer may not be up to the task. Running large applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, or some accounting packages can cause slowdowns. The hardware may be overwhelmed. You may not have enough available storage space. Sometimes your computer’s parts are simply too old and not fast enough.
Even a new computer could be the problem if it’s an inexpensive one. Or perhaps you didn’t get enough random access memory (RAM). Your computer needs RAM to run applications or games; it’s the short-term memory of the computer. This is where the computer loads all the things it thinks it might need soon so that it can process them quickly. Without enough available RAM, the computer has to work harder (and slower) to get the results you want.
No wonder common advice for people dealing with slow computers is to invest in more RAM. If your device is less than five years old, you can often upgrade the RAM inexpensively, or switch to a solid-state drive (SSD). An SSD reads and writes differently than a traditional hard drive, which allows it to access information faster.
Meanwhile, buying a replacement computer may be the answer if your device is more than five years old.
Then Again, Maybe It’s the Internet Connection
On the other hand, you might notice computer slowness when online. Web pages might be slow to load, or you might be waiting ages to access YouTube videos. If the lag is happening on only one website, it could be that site’s problem. Otherwise, internet slowness could be a provider problem. Or you might have a poor connection.
One way to confirm a connection issue is to check your internet speed. A site such as fast.com or speedtest.net can measure your speed, then you can compare it against the connection speed you’re paying for. Don’t know that? Check your service bill. You may have a slow internet speed plan. Maybe you haven’t changed it in years but have added many more devices. In that case, you’ll want to call your service provider about an upgrade … or confiscate the kid’s devices when you want to stream a favorite show.
When testing, you are looking for a speed of at least 10 Mbps. Anything below that, and you’ll start seeing slowdowns and start hearing the complaints from all corners of the house. To put that in perspective, Netflix needs at least 5 Mbps to stream in HD.
Other Tidbits to Tackle Slowness
You might also try rebooting your computer or your modem and router. If you leave these running all the time, never actually turning them off, they can get stuck in a slow rut. If you’re on Wi-Fi, that could also be the root of your problem. Maybe you’re on a network with too many users making demands. For instance, if everyone in your family is streaming on their devices, expect a slowdown. You might be in a signal dead zone. In that case, you could look into a Wi-Fi mesh network.
Ultimately, there are many reasons for a slow computer or internet connection. Don’t get stuck with a tortoise of technology. A managed services provider can find the root cause and get you running faster. Contact us today at 863-606-8349, that's 606-8FIX!
6 Simple Tips to Protect Your Customer Data
As cyber-attacks continue to make headlines, hackers are exposing or selling customer data files in record numbers. But just like with any threat, there are actions you can take to minimize risk and ensure your business retains a positive reputation among customers.
1. Stop using the same password on repeat. Set a mandate for all staff that passwords must be unique for each user and for your workplace. That means it can’t be remotely like the one on their home PC, tablet or online banking. Passwords are hacked more than ever, so when you’re prompted for a password change, dig deep and really think about what goes into a hacker-proof password. If remembering them is a problem, consider one of the latest password management tools.
2. Go on a shredding spree. How much sensitive data is being dumped into the recycling bin? Valuable customer data is often taken from the bins of small businesses and quickly sold or published. It’s not just good practice to shred sensitive documents, it’s the law. Take 5 seconds to run documents through the shredder or book in the services of a secure shredding company.
3. Ditch the accounting spreadsheets. Still using an Excel doc for all your number-crunching? Besides making your accountant’s job harder (and more expensive), you’re opening your business to a massive range of vulnerabilities. Even with password-protection, spreadsheets aren’t designed to safeguard your financials or those of your clients. Upgrade to a proper accounting solution with built-in customer data protections and security guarantees.
4. Train staff explicitly. You can’t rely on common sense because what you think is a given might be news to someone else. It can be extremely beneficial to hold special data-safety training sessions once or twice a year as a reminder, as well as take the time to induct new staff into the way things are done.
5. Limit access to data. Just like the bank manager who guards the keys to the vault, you can limit who accesses your data. Revoke employee access as soon as they leave your business for good, and set rules around who can access what – and when. Do they need access to sensitive information while working from home? Should they be able to change the files, or only view them?
6. Keep your software updated. Possibly the most preventable hack, having outdated software can be an open invitation for cyber-criminals. They look for known weaknesses in business software and waltz right in. While the nagging pop-ups and reminders to update can feel like a selling ploy, they’re actually helping your business to stay in the safe zone. Updated software gives you protection against new viruses and hacking techniques, plus closes off those nasty weaknesses.
If you would like to make sure your business is secure from data breaches, give us a call at (863) 606-8349 [606-8FIX].
Microsoft announced that as of October 2020, Exchange Server 2010 will reach end of support. Since other products like Windows 7 and SharePoint 2010 will also no longer be supported as of 2020, consider migrating to Office 365 to improve employee productivity and enhance your digital environment. There’s no time like the present to jump-start the planning process with our consulting team to upgrade to Office 365. The sooner you're able to act, the sooner your business will reap the benefits of modern productivity tools and reduce unnecessary security risks.
More and more businesses are intrigued by and know they should, and need, to move to the cloud. Be cautious, however, as email provided by GoDaddy, your ISP, or Joe's internet hosting service may be using legacy technologies. Does Outlook on your laptop stay in sync when you delete or read an email on your phone? Do your contacts and calendar stay synchronized? If not, you're likely on a legacy platform—upgrading to Office 365 can be a huge improvement to your productivity levels...not to mention mental well being since you won't be wondering if/when you responded to an email.
At IT Protectorate, we can migrate your email accounts to Office 365 quickly and efficiently. We also offer cloud backup and archiving services capable of protecting your email, files, and the majority of the Office 365 suite!
Oh right! Here's a link to that eBook we promised.
Make it a great day!
LOCK YOUR DOOR.
LOCK YOUR COMPUTER.
LOCK YOUR ACCOUNTS WITH SECURE PASSWORDS.
Locking the door to our homes when we leave is something most do on autopilot. If you drive to work, you automatically lock your vehicle after arriving to your destination (I listen for the beep, and sometimes have to walk back to the car at my wife's disgust to hit that lock button one last time). Checking the physical locks in our life is easy, we don’t even think twice. But what about the digital locks, did you lock them too? Does it matter? Most definitely.
Trust me, you are not alone in the never ending frustration of trying to remember your latest passwords. Even those of us who spend our careers in the IT industry can get a bit tired of it. Which is why many people (even though they know better) often use weak passwords. We have all been guilty at one time or another. But, here is the thing: the small inconvenience of selecting secure passwords and updating them frequently is much easier to handle than a data breach. In a sobering reality check, the 2017 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that 81 percent of data breaches were caused by a password hack.
Think of your passwords like a flood wall made up of sandbags. In one section the sandbags are eight feet tall and four feet deep. Yet, in another section, the wall is only five feet tall and two feet deep. Now, picture flood waters pushing with millions of pounds of pressure on the wall. Maybe the taller and thicker section holds, but then the waters find a weakness in the shorter and more narrow section. Within minutes, the sandbags are pushed aside by the raging waters and the whole neighborhood is buried in damaging flood waters. Like the weaker section of the flood wall, in your organization if even one member of your staff uses a weak password, it exposes the entire business to the risk of a data breach.
This month is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), at IT Protectorate we encourage you to use this month as an opportunity to remind your team of the importance of selecting strong passwords and updating them frequently. #SecureIT and keep your company’s data safe.
TIPS FOR CREATING A STRONG PASSWORD
In today's competitive, always-on landscape, businesses need to be one step ahead of their competitors to thrive and retain their customers. Your business functions on technology and it should be reliable and efficient.
In light of October being National Security Awareness Month, your first objective should be to ensure that your network and interconnected devices are secure against the proliferation of ransomware and malware knocking at your firewall's front door.
Features like these and more are commonplace with what are being called Next Generation Firewalls.
Speaking of Next Generation, the same applies to Antivirus. Several new security software companies have brought new software to market which takes a new approach to Antivirus software. Gone are the days of downloading updates and definitions; now heuristics and intrusion detection and prevention are here.
We're testing these Next Generation products and have found that some are capable of stopping malware in it's tracks and restoring any data and settings that were modified back to their original state—usually in the blink of an eye.
Contact us today to learn more! We'd be happy to have a conversation over the phone, email, or coffee!
Ctrl + X to Cut
Think about X marking the spot in the text where you want to cut words, an image, or a URL. Drag your cursor over the selection to highlight the particular text/table/image/file (or a part of it). If you don’t want it at all, the cut function is another version of delete. If you want to move the selection, this is your first step.
Ctrl + V to Paste
With this simple shortcut you can place the information you just cut (or copied using Ctrl + C) anywhere you want. The important thing to remember is that the paste function only holds one selection in memory. So, if you cut a phrase from one place, don’t get distracted by an image you want to copy or other text to cut. You want to paste what you have first, then go back and copy or cut the next thing so as not to risk risking losing anything.
Ctrl + Z to Undo, Ctrl + Y to Redo
If only this shortcut was available in real life. We could retract that thing we inadvertently said to Uncle Steve, or take out the salt we put in a recipe instead of sugar, or avoid leaving the house for the gym without our running shoes.
Still, Windows users are able to undo their most recent action with this key combination. Whichever Windows program you’re in, you can use Ctrl + Z to reverse your last action. To redo something, go with Ctrl + Y.
Alt + Tab to Switch Screens
There are many things you can do with Windows. Perhaps you’re multitasking: you have a PowerPoint open, as well as an Excel spreadsheet, and Internet Explorer, too. By pressing Alt and then the Tab key, you can switch between tabs or screens. If you hold down the Alt button while tapping Tab, you’ll scroll through all screens.
Ctrl + N to open a new window
Pressing Ctrl+N together opens up a new document file or browser window, depending on the program you’re in. It saves you a few drop-down menus and works in most Windows applications and Web browsers.
Ctrl + F to Find
This is another one we’d love to see in the real world. Using the find shortcut calls up a pop-up box where you can enter text or numbers. You can use this shortcut to find what you’re looking for on a Web page, in a PDF document, or in your rough draft of a speech. In fact, you’ll be able to see how many times your search text appears and toggle from one selection to the next.
Ctrl + Mouse Scroll Wheel to Zoom in or Out
Forget your reading glasses? Looking at a too-small info-graphic? Having a tough time locating the right tiny file on your desktop? You can zoom in with this shortcut. Using this shortcut on your desktop makes files and folders larger. In your browser, this function zooms in on the page.
Want to know more about Windows and technology to streamline processes? Our experts can help you find the right computer solutions for your home or office.
Call us today at (863) 606-8349!
The techie in us couldn't resist posting this great imagery of hurricane Dorian as of 9/2/2019.
Check out https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/satellite.php and look at the GOES Gulf and East Coast links for looped imagery like the one below.
Please be cautious of Dorian. With Hurricane Irma, we experienced winds that were primarily from one direction. While it looks like we've dodged a bullet, shifts in the direction of the winds as the eye crosses over can pack a punch due to the saturated ground.
Please be safe and alert, especially as the hurricane gets closer. Being prepared is key as the storm approaches, ensuring that we don't wake up to find out Dorian didn't turn North.
The Hurricane DR Checklist for Businesses
At IT Protectorate, our clients’ security comes first. Security researchers have now successfully weaponized BlueKeep (CVE-2019-0708), a name for a vulnerability Microsoft Remote Desktop. We expect hackers to start launching attacks on this vulnerability soon, if they haven’t already.
Do I need more Security Measures in place?
Yes and no. Most businesses (even home users) think they are too small to be noticed. However, hackers do not discriminate. On one hand, they may target a large business with the goal of a large payout in mind. On the other, they may target thousands, even millions of PCs across the internet in an effort to use them as part of their attack vector.
So, what are some recommendations?
First and foremost, IT Protectorate recommends protecting your connection to the internet with a Next-Generation firewall. A firewall will scan and block malicious traffic before it gets to your network (or leaves it!). These are not the firewalls that you can buy at Target or Walmart, mind you.
Second, protect your servers and workstations with Antivirus. We make sure our clients under Maintenance Programs are covered with managed AV, which we monitor for alerts and keep updated.
Third, consider cyber-security awareness training. IT Protectorate offers programs purposefully designed to trick your users into giving their credentials away to would-be hackers. Once identified, training programs are provided to give end users knowledge of key indicators which help them identify malicious emails, as well as general recommended practices to avoid data breaches, loss of funds due to falsified emails requesting payments and/or banking transfers.
Finally, know your data.
Do you offer more advanced security systems?
Security software and services is a huge focus after the last several years have seen the hacking of millions of cyber-citizens’ personal and business data breached and sold on the dark web. Contact us today and we’ll assess your network and provide recommendations according to your budget. A technology road-map is helpful as it allows you to plan and budget for your technology as well as recognize the value it provides your business and its’ customers.
Shameless plug: Here are some ideas and topics you may have come across that we offer or can simply answer questions about.
Elroy is the man behind the scenes; writing posts, checking status of servers, managing networks and endpoints, and enjoying coffee in his favorite spots in Lakeland and Winter Haven, FL.