It goes without saying that your business is successful thanks to the multitude of IT vendors you work with every day: your Internet service provider, computer equipment company, website developer, domain host, phone guy, copy guy…the list goes on and on. It also goes without saying that eventually one of these services will go wrong, causing you to spend valuable time calling and managing these vendors when you should be managing your business.
This is where Vendor Management Services comes in.
Did you know that DCG Technical Solutions provides Vendor Management Services, allowing us to manage every single one of your technology vendors for you? When trouble arises, simply contact us, create a trouble ticket, and we’ll deal with your troubled service from there. No problem is too big or small – we’ll work with your vendors until the problems are fixed, freeing you up to focus on your business.
We”ll manage all of your technology-related vendors, including those who provide:
- Computer equipment
- Internet Service
- Website development
- Domain hosting
- Telephone systems
- Network scanners, copiers & fax machines
Contact us today and ask about how our Vendor Management Services can take the management of your vendor relationships off your hands.
There is a variety of blended threats in cyberspace, and it’s important for you to know not only that you’re protected, but that you’re protecting yourself in the most cost efficient way.
In addition to viruses, there is the constant looming threat of malware. It is issues with malware that can take hours of time and hundreds of dollars for each occurrence — not to mention the downtime and lost productivity by your end users.
St. Bernard Managed Care for each of your workstations is by far the most fail-safe and cost-efficient way to protect your business against these real threats. Here’s why:
*St. Bernard includes our best of class Antirvirus (AV) and Anti-malware (AM). This is significant because St. Bernard allows us to move between “best of class” AV and AM products. If a particular product stops performing, we can easily change to a better tool. Committing to any AV tool for more than a few months can leave you with a tool that fails to “keep up” with the current threats. Currently we are using the enterprise versions of GFI Viper AV and Malwarebytes anti-malware.
*Most threats that cause downtime for your users, and high billable hours by DCG, come from malware, not viruses. Investments in products such as AVG, which may be cheaper but is not good with malware, actuality costs your business much, much more in the long run. We often run the “single use” version of malware bytes at companies’ sites, and it finds sometimes hundreds of problems that AVG misses. DCG pays for enterprise versions of the Viper AV licenses and the enterprise version of malware bytes, so licensing or paying for upgrades to those products is unnecessary.
Since DCG uses the Enterprise version of Malwarebytes, your site will enjoy automated scans of every workstation which fix problems without paying us to do it manually. The automated running of Malwarebytes also stops many malware threats before they have time to spread, or make the workstation unusable.
*St. Bernard has other tools that allow us to lower your overall IT costs. LogMeIn Pro is an incredible value and helps you save money on billable hours. It’s provided for free and allows our help desk engineers to easily remote into your workstations. LogMeIn Pro is faster than other similar tools and allows us to access safe-mode, perform “last known good”, and we’re given access to the boot process. This capability lets us do things remotely that used to require an on-site visit with the old tools. And LogMeIn-Pro allows you to “share your screen” with other vendors, like your accounting consultant/CPA/payroll or other software consultant. This is permission-based and is very easy to use.
Allowing your other consultants remote control may save you money in terms of on site visits.
*According to technology researcher Gartner, two million new viruses/malware threats are released into the wild each month. It is because of this that Microsoft has stepped up their security patch update frequency. Obtaining these updates/patches and making sure each workstation applies these updates/patchesimmediatly is critical. St. Bernard handles this automatically and alerts DCG technical staff if a workstation/laptop/server stops accepting the updates.
Without St Bernard, a workstation can fall behind on the security patches that are essential to being safe from the threats.
Staying up to date with these patches will lower DCG billable hours because we won’t need to manually push these updates and troubleshoot failures of the update process.
*St. Bernard handles “site-wide” updates to common software. For example, we can tell St. Bernard to update every body’s workstation to the latest version of the adobe PDF reader and it will be done automatically overnight. Without St. Bernard, our engineer or your staff must go to each workstation to push out these new programs or updates.
*A “full hard drive” can cause a PC to stop working. St. Bernard cleans Internet debris three times per week so the machines run faster. St. Bernard alerts us if a drive is 90% full so we can take action before the end user has downtime due to a full drive.
Because cyber threats have become so serious and numerous over the last two years, DCG has only taken on new clients who agree to put St. Bernard on their workstations. St. Bernard Managed Care is significantly cheaper than our competitors and includes enterprise licensing for the following products:
GFI Enterprise Anti-Virus
GFI Spybot Search and Destroy
LogMeIn Pro Enterprise
Internet debris removal (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)
Automated 3rd party program installation/updates
Workstation Hardware and Software inventory Reports
For the safety of your business, consider DCG-recommended St. Bernard for all of your servers and workstations.
Attention PC and Mac users: This applies to all of you.
Important updates have been released by both Adobe and Oracle to fix major security issues with their software. Oracle’s Java plugin, as well as Adobe’s Acrobat and Adobe Reader, were recently subject to hackers belonging to an Eastern European ring, with as many as 40 companies falling victim to the Java security breach on both Macs and PCs.
Those using Java on Windows systems are advised to remove Java altogether, or at least unplug it from the browser most often used. It is recommended that if you must have Java installed on your computer, install it on a separate browser that you will only use when the Java plug-in is necessary. Make sure you’re using the most updated version, which is Java SE 7 Update 15 or Java 6 Update 41. But first, find out if you have Java installed by visiting Java.com, then click “Do I Have Java?” If you do have it, update it by clicking the Update tab, then click “Update Now.”
Macs are current on security patches thanks to an update from Apple, which disables the Java plug-in from the system’s browsers. Any possible Java-related Malware can be removed from Macs with Apple’s malware removal tool.
Also current on security patches for both Mac and PC is Adobe’s Reader XI, with the most recent version 11.0.2, and Reader X at version 10.1.6.
Firefox users can rest easy with a new version of the browser that has its own PDF viewer, allowing users to bypass plugins that could expose the machine to threat.
I bought a new machine that’s running Window’s 8, which doesn’t have a start button, and I miss it! Is there any way for me to get my start menu back?
I’ve been hearing this a lot. Users who don’t have a touch screen are finding the Windows 8 interface a bit cumbersome, or they just simply miss the old Windows 7 Start menu. The good news is there are two solutions that will put your trusty Start menu back onto Windows 8.
Classic Shell is a group of usability enhancements for Windows, including a customizable Start menu for Windows 8, appropriately named Classic Start Menu. Just by pressing your Windows key, a familiar-looking Start menu appears, with skins customized by you to look just like your old Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP Start menu did. Begin a faster-than-ever search just by typing in what you’re searching for and hitting Enter. You can still pin items of your choice to the Start menu in an even more customizable fashion. And more good news: It’s free.
In addition to Classic Shell’s Windows 7-style Start menu, you may prefer the Windows 8 Start menu found in Stardock’s Start8. For $4.99 per month (after a free 30-day trial), Start8 offers a more authentic copy of the Windows 7 Start menu than Classic Shell’s, and also has a Windows 8-style Start menu that allows you to go either partial- or full-screen.
Either way you go, you can rest knowing Windows 8 and your favorite Start menu can make a great partnership.
Windows 8 has arrived in all of its glory-and with all of its many, many changes. The absence of the Start menu is a particularly frustrating change for most users, who without it are having a great deal of trouble finding their installed applications.
Windows 8 provides the Win+X menu which unfortunately doesn’t give you the access to your applications that you’re used to with the old Start menu. Instead, to easily find your apps, press the Windows key and the “Q” simultaneously, or right-click an empty part of the Start screen, or swipe your finger up from the bottom of the screen, and select “All Apps”. A scrolling list of all your installed applications will appear, allowing you to browse through the tiles and find what you’re looking for.
For a tip on how to quickly and easily capture a screenshot in Windows 8, click here.
The Tesla Model S, a luxury, full-sized electric sedan, was named the
2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year for many reasons such as advanced design, efficiency and safety. But there’s one thing the Motor Trend judges were particularly impressed with: It’s computer.
The Tesla’s instrument panel is made solely of a giant 17-inch touch screen which boasts the car’s advanced design. Via its 3G wireless capability, this touch display allows you to use anything the Internet offers: Google Maps, YouTube, Facebook – you name it. The driver can customize the large screen by splitting it in any way, then use it to control literally each one of the car’s functions by swiping from a menu at the top of the screen. The Set-up screen displays an identical image of the car and alerts the driver if there’s an open door, which lights are on or off, etc. Nearly everything else, such as air conditioning, sound system, door locks, etc. is controlled by tapping the screen.
At a starting price of $52.4k, this button-free car obviously doesn’t fall into the Economy class. But the system sets it apart from the rest and is a true symbol of contemporary technology.
The Windows 8 store has quite a number of popular apps that are free. To give you an idea, here is a list of some of the most popular free Windows 8 apps:
*Box – 7 GB’s free storage (for new Microsoft users). 99.9% uptime guaranteed. Full text search and document collaboration. Restorable history.
*Skype – Video and voice calling.
*Google Search – Since Google search does not come on Windows 8, Google released this app to fill the void.
*Ever Note- Keeps notes, pictures, & audio files organized in easy to use GUI.
*Invoice 360 – Customizable invoice templates. Supports printing, PDF creation, and soft-copy sharing via Windows 8 Share Charm.
*Microsoft Lync – Remotely access files and applications or check the status of your servers or Rackspace from anywhere.
*Amazon – The same shopping experience, only on a mobile phone or tablet.
*EZ Opp – Two time Global Microsoft CRM Partner of the Year Award winner. Help manage sales pipelines on the road by comparing estimated revenue to potential income.
*Meeting Money – Puts a live cash value on all members of a meeting to show the price of keeping people tied up in company pow-wows.
Visit the Windows 8 app store to find these and other often-downloaded apps.
When you want to capture whatever is on your screen, simply press the Windows key and the Prt Sc key simultaneously. The image will go to the clipboard as before, and will also be saved to the My Pictures folder. The first capture will be automatically named Screenshot.png, the next will be Screenshot(1).png, etc.
This is the first time Windows has added a quick and easy way to instantly save a screen shot to your hard drive when, previously, grabbed screen shots could only be saved to the clipboard.
Today’s business owners have come to rely on email so heavily that it’s essential their email is protected and its operation smooth and continuous. Too often, email systems are overloaded with enormous amounts of data, spam, viruses, and service interruptions that can greatly threaten the safety and accessibility of their email files.
This is where RADAR comes in. RADAR is a hosted cloud service from Reflexion that is directly linked with the hosted email security service Reflexion Total Control (RTC). It provides email archiving that ensures the protection, preservation and continuous operation of your businesses’ email communication while providing 24/7 on-demand email access from any location, via any browser. It scans all email and attachments for spam and viruses (and eliminates them), indexes your emails for search and rapid retrieval, then encrypts them in the active archive for secure, long-term retention. As long as you have an active internet connection you can access your email anywhere – even while your mail server is down!
RADAR’s web interface makes it easy for users to find and retrieve email and attachments, and its active archiving automatically stores a copy of all incoming, outgoing and internal email in a secure, encrypted repository indefinitely. RADAR Lite, the smaller cousin of RADAR, is a rolling 60 day archive that provides the same benefits at only a fraction of the cost.
As long as you are already enjoying the benefits of Reflexion Total Control (RTC) you can add RADAR for $8 per user per month, while RADAR Lite is only an additional $2 per user per month.
System failure is a real possibility for any business, and complete protection of all email communications is vital. Visit Reflexion’s website to learn more about RADAR.
Ransomware scams are on the rise, with 2012 seeing an increase in the number, size and scope of scams, according to anti-virus software giant Symantec.
Malware literally holds your PC hostage by locking or disabling it while displaying a demand for payment of a ransom, or what the crooks behind it call a “fine.” Often claiming to come from the government or public companies, the message usually tells the victim they have done something wrong and must pay the fine to correct the situation. Paying the fine does not unlock the computer, however. The malware won’t leave the PC until it is manually removed.
Symantec reports that the scam has escalated from amateur to professional levels with more and more computers becoming infected by at least 16 different versions of ransomware. There were a reported 68,000 computers affected in one month and an attempted Trojan infection in 500,000 PCs over an 18-day period. Nearly three percent of people affected by ransomware actually pay the ransom, Symantec reports, and well over $5 million a year has been stolen through ransomware.
The good news is: Users are becoming more educated about ransomeware and less apt to fall for the scam. The bad news: That may lead to scammers becoming more sophisticated.
Infected users can click here for a tutorial on how to remove ransomeware malware. To learn how to avoid the scam altogether, click here.
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