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Microsoft Server 2003: End of Life July 2015?

Microsoft have confirmed that they will end support for their popular Server 2003 product range on the 14th of July 2015. It was first released on April 24, 2003. An updated version, Windows Server 2003 R2, was released on December 6, 2005. This product range also includes Small Business Server 2003.

These products were aimed towards the small to medium-sized businesses. Supporting file and printer sharing, secure Internet connectivity, centralised desktop application deployment, and in the case of Small Business Server the addition of Microsoft Exchange (email) and SQL (database).

When Microsoft ceases support for Server 2003 they will no longer issue security updates or software patches for any version of Server 2003. If you continue to use this product it will be like basing your business on a piece of equipment that is 12 years old, no longer serviced, and who the manufacturer no longer provides parts.

Ultimately businesses who continue to use Server 2003 will take on declining performance & escalating risk over time.

Upgrade or your business systems due to Security and Compliance Issues

If you are still using Server 2003 or Small Business Server 2003, you should take this situation seriously or your business will be negatively impacted with some significant consequences. You should consider the following information as you make your Server 2003 migration plan.

  • Security Risks:The biggest problem is the security threat to your business. Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information is vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. There is a strong likelihood that malicious viruses will be developed & unleashed on Server 2003 once it is no longer supported. No business owner wants to think about a being attacked by Malware or their business not being able to function properly.
  • Compliance Issues:For many businesses, continuing to operate a non supported software can result in compliance issues leading to the suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organisation’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation.
  • Upgrade Expenses:As a business owner trying to control costs, do you think an upgrade will be too expensive? Think again. The problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade.

The good news is that Microsoft provides a number of alternatives that may suit your situation & budget.

So what are the alternatives for your business?

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 – Windows Server 2012 R2 offers a lengthy list of improvements compared with Windows Server 2003, including integrated virtualization, better security, extensive scalability, new operational roles, script execution capabilities, and far more. While it is a substantial learning curve to move directly from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2012 R2, customers are well advised to not make an interim upgrade to Windows Server 2008 as that product has already gone to end of mainstream support in January 2015. Licensing & hardware investment can be significant to facilitate this migration.
  • Office 365 – This is a Microsoft cloud hosted version of much of the server software product plus it can be provisioned with the full range of Office software such as Email Outlook, Word, PowerPoint & Excel. By subscribing to this per user per month service you can avoid investing in new hardware, on site running costs (such as electricity, rent, air con, security) & for larger companies in house IT staff. Smooth migration from Server 2003 to office 365 requires professional user management and ongoing administration much like a server, but without the critical infrastructure management (Microsoft does this in their data center), so IT support can more easily be outsourced.
  • Microsoft Azure – This is a hosted server product that Microsoft has developed for IT integrators to host server infrastructure centrally and control locally, so software & application can be deployed & managed on an individual rather than collective basis. An Office 365 & Azure hybrid (using virtualization) may be a practical alternative for industries that have developed applications that are reliant on 32 bit technology that was the core of the 2003 product and may not be compatible with the 64 bit technology

Do you have a Server Migration plan in place?

Microsoft has flagged this drop dead date for support for a serious reason, so this is not a situation you can simply ignore. It’s happening on July 14 2015, so mark your calendar. Most large organisations have been working on their migration plans for years. For small-medium sized business owners, the hour is getting late so we strongly encourage you to take action today!

Computer Troubleshooters encourages you to take this situation seriously and develop a migration plan immediately. Our experts can help you understand your migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy for your business. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters office today before you run out of time.

 

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Are You Protecting Your Clients’ Private Information on Your Network and Devices?

There’s a long list of improvements that technology has delivered, but a major downside is cybercrime. The theft of digital information has become the most commonly reported type of criminal fraud. Surprisingly, the theft of digital information has actually surpassed physical theft. When Sony was recently hacked they stole 100TB of data – everything they could find – emails, movies, passwords, & payroll information.

Cybercrime: A Big Danger for Small Businesses

While financial institutions and large companies have been strengthening their networks against attacks, cybercriminals have begun targeting less well-defended small businesses. Small businesses are attacked everyday, it just doesn’t make the news like a massive data breach at Sony or Target. If you aren’t convinced that it’s a major problem, the following information based on a 2013 survey conducted by the US National Small Business Association:

  • 44% of small businesses have been victims of cyber attacks. The average cyber attack costs a small business $8,700.
  • Business must often pay to notify customers of a data breach and also pay for credit monitoring for customers with compromised information. Companies are potentially liable for damages in lawsuits brought by customers with compromised information.

Protect Your Clients and Your Business

Computer Troubleshooters offers the following recommendations to increase the security of your network and to safeguard your clients’ valuable personal and financial information:

  • Cybersecurity Awareness:Awareness, education and training is actually the first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business and clients from cybercrime. Establish a cybersecurity plan and policies for employees that requires the use of passwords; guidelines for handling
  • Secure Your Wi-Fi Network:You must password protect access to the router on your network. A common misconception is that simply having a router on your network will provide the protection you need. Without a password on the router, it is like putting a door on your office but not locking it.
  • Authentication and Passwords:Each employee must have unique passwords. Changing passwords every three months is recommended. Multi-factor authentication adds greater protection because it requires additional information to gain entry. When working with vendors that are handling your sensitive financial information, ask if they use multi-factor authentication. If not, you might want to work with a different vendor.
  • Clean Machines:Always use the latest operating system, security software and web browser. These will provide the best protection against online threats including viruses and malware. Block spam with a reliable spam filter, plus your e-mail will be easier to manage.
  • Secure Transactions:Protect client financial information from theft during online transactions by using encryption software. Encryption software also protects your business’ financial accounts, personnel files, product information and other highly sensitive data. Isolate payment systems from each other and don’t surf the internet from the computer you use to process payments.
  • Control Business and Client Information:Know exactly how and where critical information is stored, how it is used and how it is protected. Administrative privileges are only for key personnel. Limit employee access to data and always use strong and individualized passwords. Also, control physical access to computers. Lock laptop equipment when not in use. Use a reliable backup system that is at compliant with your industry.
  • Firewall:Consider using a reliable software firewall that prevents outsiders from accessing data on your private network. If your employees work from home, be sure that their home system is also firewall protected.
  • Mobile Devices:Require users to password protect their mobile devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent cyber criminals from stealing information while the device is on a public network.

Play It Safe!

You have worked hard to establish your business. Success in any business is largely built on a reputation based on the trust and support of loyal clients and customers. Don’t gamble with this hard-earned loyalty by putting your clients’ security at risk. Safeguard your business against cybercrime by taking the necessary steps to ensure the security of your clients’ sensitive information.

Computer Troubleshooters can help you fight cybercrime by strengthening your business’ network with a variety of security products and solutions to cover all areas that are potentially at risk in your business. Computer Troubleshooters can also help you to establish a cybersecurity plan and policies for your business. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our technology professionals will be happy to help you.

 

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Keeping it Clean!

It is easy to see the colossal mess that can quickly pile up in the office kitchen when you are busy. Just a few days of neglecting the rubbish and suddenly your office kitchen has become a health hazard. Seriously, how long has that leftover slice of Christmas cake been sitting there? Hey, there’s not a single clean coffee cup to be found on the shelf!

Unfortunately, most of us who work in an office environment are familiar with that type of kitchen experience.

In reality, a similar fate can befall your office computers. If you neglect a regular schedule of computer updates and maintenance, messy problems will soon start piling up. A disorganized office supply room or a dirty kitchen is bad enough, but never forget that your computers handle your business’ most important assets: accounting, financial records, communications and client information

Keeping It Clean – Inside and Out!

Remember that keeping the outside of your computers clean isn’t just about aesthetic appeal. Routine cleaning, especially the removal of dust, can keep your computer from overheating and damaging the hard drive and other components. It’s important.

Perhaps even more important than a dust-free keyboard, is keeping your computer’s internal “nuts and bolts” in working order. To keep your computers in tip top shape, we strongly recommend the following guidelines:

Step 1: Keep your computer up to date. Both Mac and Windows release regular security updates for your operating system. These updates are generally set to run automatically. If you aren’t sure if the updates are complete or if you have disabled the automated updates, follow these guidelines:

Windows: Go to the Start Menu, click on All Programs and then click on Windows Updates. See the status of your updates and check on the automatic updates settings. You can set your computer to download and install updates or you can perform these tasks manually.

Mac: Open the Systems Preference menu and choose Software Update. All available updates will appear on a list. Select the updates you want to install.

Step 2: Clear your Internet history or over a period of time data builds up to a point that can cause performance issues. Use the tools that come with your Internet browser of choice and following the required actions:

Internet Explorer: See the Internet Options control panel and click Delete on the General tab under the Browsing History. Firefox: See Firefox menu and open Options to click the Clear button to erase cookies and cache data. Chrome: To clear data, hold Control and Shift and click Delete. This will open a menu where you can select the data you want to erase. Also click on Clear Browsing Data when you are done. Safari: Clear the browsing cache by using the Edit menu then select Empty Cache.

Step 3: Malware is a type of program that can create security holes and compromise your computer’s performance. Call a Computer Troubleshooters professional to learn about a variety of both free and paid programs that are designed to erase malware and spyware. One of the best ways to avoid malware is to never download anything you are not sure of, such as a mysterious attachment that comes from an unfamiliar e-mail address.

Step 4: Defend your computer against malicious viruses with a powerful antivirus program. Having an antivirus program on your computer is a necessity. While no program can guarantee you will be safe from every possible threat, not having this protection or having a low quality product exposes your computer to the likelihood of infection. To avoid losing important data or having to pay for expensive repairs, talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about your security needs.

Step 5: Hard drive maintenance is an automatic task provided on most recent computers. It defragments and reorganizes data storage for greater efficiency. It also handles disk cleanup by deleting duplicates and unused temporary files. This process is typically automatic on a Mac. With Windows, if your computer doesn’t provide automatic hard drive maintenance, use the Start Menu to open and run the maintenance program.

Step 6: Now that your computer is running more efficiently, be sure that the computer has a reliable backup system in place. There are many different options for backup solutions that are both reliable and affordable. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters to discuss the available solutions that best fits your needs.

Take Care of Your Valuable Assets with Regular Computer Care and Maintenance!

Your computers are one of your business’ most valuable assets. Try to imagine getting through even one day of business without your computers functioning. Take care of your computers so that you can take care of your business. Regular computer service, maintenance and updates will keep your machine working at optimal efficiency. Computer Troubleshooters can help you with malware, virus protection and backup solutions or help to establish a regular maintenance schedule for your office computers. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you.

 

 

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Why you need to protect against Thunder Storms?

It is the season for thunderstorm activity across Australia. Recent storms have caused havoc with IT equipment in office & homes for our clients. Last week’s storm in Sydney fried computers, printers, cable modems and backup external drives, let alone more expensive business equipment such as servers. No one who got equipment fried actually got struck by lightning, so why did they lose multiple pieces of equipment in one wild storm and most importantly how do you stop it happening to you or your business.

Most technology depends on a clean, uninterrupted supply of electricity.  Unfortunately, inconsistencies in your electrical supply or a sudden complete loss of power can cause major damage to computer systems and other sensitive equipment.

Electrical supply is subjected to ‘brownouts’, surges and even complete outages.  ‘Brownouts’ are momentary slumps in supply, to a level under 100 volts. They are frequently caused by electrical storms, creating a momentary drain on the power supply.  Brownouts can affect a computer even if the voltage dip cannot be ‘seen’ (e.g. the lights in the room dimming).  And if they don’t crash your PC, they can cause stresses that can shorten the life of its components.

Surges of power often follow brownouts as the power rebounds back to normal, and can have similar effects caused by too much voltage.  Surges are common in areas where lines are hung on poles that are exposed to lightening, while the lightening may not hit the line the storms electrical activity is enough to cause variations in the voltage.

What devices will protect my systems from electrical issues:

  • Surge/power filters or protectorsare designed to ‘fail’ and cut the offending power supply before it damages your equipment. A direct lightning strike or similar condition will destroy any surge/power filter, but it will indicate that it has lost protection and may still have some protection in reserve until it can be replaced.  A surge/power filter is designed to ‘self-sacrifice’ itself, and is low cost compared to some other alternatives.
  • An Uninterruptible Power Supply(UPS) sits between your power outlet and your electronic device, providing backup power from its batteries when the mains supply fails. This gives you time to safely save open files and initiate the computer’s shutdown process, this particularly important for servers.

Additionally, most UPS’ regulate the power that comes from the wall, eliminating sags, spikes, noise, and other electrical interference that can damage equipment and data or interrupt operations.

A couple of common questions about power protection devices:

  • If I have a UPS, do I need surge protection?Yes – International standards don’t require UPS’ to have surge protection, so they don’t have a high level of protection as this would increase their cost and make them uncompetitive. They are designed to handle the end of a major surge, not the whole surge itself, so the UPS device itself also needs adequate protection from surges.  It’s much cheaper to replace your failed surge protector than your fried UPS.
  • How long can things run on a UPS during a blackout?Well, there is no standard answer, as UPS solutions are available to support devices from anywhere from five minutes to two days.  There are also several types of UPS, namely StandbyLine-interactive, and On-line, which have different features (and associated costs).  Typically, you should plan on enough run time to allow you to save any open files and safely shutdown your system, a definite requirement if you run a server.

In many cases, power protection can be justified by looking at the consequences of not having it. Several hours of professional work can be lost with just one brownout, due to a computer crashing before the work can be saved to disk. The consequences can be even more devastating if the power interruption physically damages the saved, historical data on the computer’s disk.  This can cause a business to suffer expensive setbacks in terms of time and disruption, even if the data can be restored from a recent backup.

Prevention is always better than cure and for a small investment in electrical protection hardware you can make sure you don’t get fried in the next thunder storm.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about how power protection can help to prevent you from losing valuable time and money.

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Can Office 365 Transform Your Business?

Microsoft has invested heavily on Office 365 as the way of the future for software licencing and it clearly turned out to be a winner! Both the consumer and business markets are enthusiastic about Microsoft’s Office 365 based on its user-friendly flexibility, effective communications and online productivity solutions. Have you thought about transitioning to Office 365?

Does Your Technology Support the “Time is Money” Viewpoint?

Advances in technology have enabled small and local businesses to participate in the global marketplace by maximizing productivity; delivering enhanced communication capabilities; providing affordable
e-marketing; and offering efficient customer service. It’s becoming increasingly common for small businesses to have user-friendly websites; online catalogs; call centers; customer relationship management tools (CRM); and streamlined inventory management systems. Technology is now primed to wring every ounce of efficiency and productivity out of a business to keep it one step ahead of the competition.

How Can Office 365 Benefit Your Business?

If you are an individual user or a business owner managing a team of employees, Office 365 offers many benefits including:

  • Work Whenever and Wherever:
  • Access your Office tools from anywhere on any device. Create and edit Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote files and share with your team using cloud-based file sharing. Even the Small Business edition can support up to 25 users. All editions provide great storage capacity for your data. You can also use Office 365 with your desktop version of Office.

  • Email and Calendar:
  • Sync your email and calendar with Office 365’s hosted business class email system. Stay in touch and on schedule with instant messaging. Secure and private communications are delivered across various devices with anti-virus and anti-spam protection.

  • Easily Manage Your Website:
  • With easy to use DIY online tools you can quickly make changes to your website. You can add your existing website, domain name and domain-based email address to Office 365 without any additional web-hosting fees. Make a great impression by taking control of your website and keeping it up to date.

  • Online Conferencing:
  • Take advantage of HD video conferencing for online meetings with desktop sharing. Save time and travel hassles with efficient online meetings that offer real-time note taking features.

  • Mobile Apps:
  • View and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files on your mobile device. When you return to your office, you can easily reconnect to these files from your computer with intact formatting and content. No time is lost when you can start working where you left off.

  • Subscription Advantages:
  • Save money upfront with the subscription service format. You can pay by the month with the ability to cancel the subscription at any time. You can easily upgrade your subscription to another edition or bundle services within a service segment. No need to purchase new versions of software ever again.

Is Your Business Ready to Take Advantage of Office 365?

You can reshape the way you are doing business by reshaping your workforce. Office 365 offers a range of advanced tools that enables your employees to be productive anywhere and at any time across a range of devices. Gain the competitive edge for your business by boosting the collective performance of your employees through Office 365’s powerful cloud-based solutions.

Embarking on the Office 365 journey requires guidance so give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today and one of our technology professionals will be happy to discuss how Office 365 can benefit your business

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Is Your Business Protected by a Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Solution?

Have you recently heard that techy acronym RMM tossed around and felt clueless? If you aren’t sure exactly what RMM is or what it does, here’s a brief explanation:

Managed Service Providers (MSP) employ Remote Monitoring and Maintenance (RMM) tools to manage their clients’ IT systems and equipment. RMM can be described as a collection of IT tools that are loaded onto a client’s workstations and servers to gather information. These RMM tools collect information on a variety of issues such as functionality, maintenance schedules and the detection of problems, and then automatically reports the details back to the MSP at a remote location.

How Does RMM Work?

If that brief description of RMM still makes it a little difficult to envision, consider credit monitoring services as a comparable type of service. Credit monitoring services are based on the continuous monitoring of a customer’s credit status. Many of us use credit monitoring services to prevent identity theft, fraud and to stay informed about any changes in our credit reports. If there is any suspicious activity within a customer’s account, the credit protection service alerts the customer within 24 hours. The alert can come via an e-mail that states, “Hello Customer – please verify that you used your credit card last night to buy $3000 worth of shoes at a resort in the Bahamas.” Good to know, right?

Additionally, the monitoring service keeps you informed about inquiries on your credit report, late payments and changes to your credit rating. These automated alerts enable consumers to take swift action as needed. Other widely used monitoring services include messages from your health care provider reminding you that it’s time for your annual physical and lab tests. If we didn’t get those proactive reminders, we might forget to make the appointment for our car’s oil change or the dog’s rabies shots at the vet’s office.

RMM is a somewhat similar type of service in that it is continuously monitoring the “health” of your technology. RMM is not only looking for problems, inefficiencies and viruses, it enables technicians to actually conduct repairs from a remote location. Plus RMM not only monitors workstations and servers, but also firewalls, printers, and mobile devices. The RMM reporting system is so efficient that the MSP can often correct a problem before you are even aware of the issue. RMM also automates scheduled maintenance tasks such as managing and deploying operating system updates; defragmenting hard disks; sending backup verifications; running antivirus application updates and more. With a RMM solution in place, the System Administrator no longer needs to think about a schedule for maintenance,systems patches or alerts for updates. Your business is covered, because RMM is working behind the scenes in tandem with the MSP at an offsite location.

The Benefits of RMM

Business owners are always on the lookout for new solutions that will cut costs and increase efficiency. That’s the name of the game when it comes to maintaining your business’ competitive position in the marketplace. If you haven’t considered a RMM solution for your business, let Computer Troubleshooters outline the benefits.

  • Save time and money by eliminating onsite IT management and manual repairs that are handled by an overworked staff member. You can save money on infrastructure and cut employee costs with a RMM solution. All of your equipment can be managed from a centralized remote location with real-time information sent to certified professionals. If your business has more than one location, RMM is a perfect solution. Plus, the repairs and upgrades are handled at an offsite location with minimal interruptions. Remember, you can redirect your IT expenditures to more valuable uses for your business. With a RMM solution, your business can produce more results while spending less money!
  • Increase Your Efficiency  by minimizing costly technology disruptions. No business owner, employee or customer wants to waste time because the network is down due to unexpected problems, maintenance or upgrades that have taken longer than anticipated. RMM will minimize downtime through proactive remote monitoring of your network. You can rely on the early detection of problems and swift repairs. If you want to forget about those sudden “disc space is full” messages, RMM can be the answer. 
  • Gain the Competitive Edge   by improving customer satisfaction with increased operational efficiency. Provide enhanced service with up-to-date data and accurate inventory counts because your internal systems are functioning efficiently. Avoid the much dreaded “our network is currently down” conversation with a customer. Enhance your sales efficiency and increase your revenues with RMM troubleshooting the problems in advance. You can stay a step ahead of the competition when you lower operating costs and redirect your resources to support the true goals of your business.

So if you feel your business IT could do with a more proactive management approach, talk to us about RMM and how we can better manage your IT requirements.

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Is Your IT Professional Also a Trusted Business Advisor?

As a business owner, one of the best moves you can make is to outsource your IT services to a professional provider. When it comes to outsourcing your IT service needs, there are a wide range of service options that involve varying levels of management responsibilities and costs. An IT professional can provide service for a single specific task such as help desk support or managing network security. At the other end of the service spectrum, an IT professional can assume management responsibilities for a client’s entire IT infrastructure. The advantages of outsourced services are improved operational efficiencies, cost savings and predictable service for a nearly-fixed monthly fee.

Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility

An increasing number of businesses have switched to the outsourced IT service model. If you are already working with a contracted IT professional, then you have given your business the advantage of a head-start on the competition. The next big question is whether your business is actually making the best use of your contracted IT professional? It is likely that your IT professional is responsible for repairs, fixes and upgrades for your business’ computers and network problems. Computer repairs might be a key part of the contracted job, but there are probably some value-added IT skills that your business might not be fully

Do You Need a Trusted Business Advisor or a Computer Repair Service?

  • Trusted advisor is an important role that an IT professional can fill by understanding the business owner’s goals and long range plans for the business. By understanding the “big picture,” an IT professional can share expert technical information while understanding various solutions, costs and the latest technology trends. Functioning as a trusted advisor, an IT professional can make experienced recommendations that are in the best interests of the business’ long term goals as opposed to implementing quick fix, computer repairs.
  • Decisions about new technologies might not be in the comfort zone of most business owners. How can a business owner be fully versed in technology and able to identify the difference between the latest hype and a proven strategy? Which technology is going to provide the best return on investment? Is it the best strategy to implement a new technology now or wait until next year? Is your business currently compliant with network security requirements? Is your data safe? If your business needs to update its operating system, is now the time to purchase new computers? If your IT professional is acting as a trusted advisor, these larger issues can be explored together with the shared goal being the long term sustainability and success of your business.
  • Technology coach is another important element of the trusted advisor’s role. As a member of the client’s “inner circle,” the IT professional needs to bring a variety of skills to the table including the ability to carefully explain technology solutions. The ability to really listen to the business owner is also critical. One size does not fit all – especially when it comes to technology decisions. A knowledgeable IT professional must be able to not only recommend the best technology solutions, but also make the best recommendations for a business’s particular needs in the context of their industry, finances and long range goals. A proactive IT professional will be constantly evaluating new technology products, solutions and reliable vendors that will best serve the needs of the client’s business.
  • Thinking Beyond Computer Repair Services

    As a business owner, you know that we all need to think “outside the box” more often. Computer Troubleshooters encourages you think outside of the “computer repair” box and see that your IT professional is a valuable asset that you might be able to utilize to even greater advantage. Computer Troubleshooters values your business and we want to be your trusted advisor when it comes to technology solutions! Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call today. We are ready to listen.

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The Final Countdown to Microsoft’s XP April 8th Deadline

In 2002, Microsoft presented its official Support Lifecycle Policy that was based on detailed customer feedback. The predictability of support services was cited as a very important issue for Microsoft’s customers. Microsoft responded accordingly by alerting customers years in advance that the XP operating system and Windows 2003 have an “end of life” date scheduled for April 8, 2014. Although XP and Windows 2003 have been very popular, Microsoft will no longer support these products after the April 8th deadline. This information has been well-publicized by Microsoft for many years. There are still over 600 million worldwide XP users and it seems that many have chosen to simply ignore these repeated notifications. We can assume that users who have not upgraded by now fall into one of two categories. The first group includes those who are willing to take their chances and plan to continue using Microsoft legacy products that are no longer supported. The second group is XP users who are truly unaware of the deadline. Do you fall into one of these two groups?

The Final Countdown is Now!

After years of these “end of life” warnings, XP and Windows 2003 are now in the final days of the deadline countdown. Surprisingly, one of Microsoft’s latest strategies has been to ask for help. Computer Troubleshooters recently posted a story on our Facebook page about how Microsoft had begun taking a grassroots approach to spreading the word. Microsoft resorted to asking for help by seeking volunteers to remind business owners, friends, family and colleagues about the upcoming XP deadline. Via their blog, Microsoft asked experienced and technically savvy users to help others understand why it is important to make the switch to Windows 8 and to make the upgrade now!

Ignoring this Deadline is Not an Option

Some users claim a variety of reasons for resisting this XP upgrade, but don’t forget that there are a few key reasons you cannot ignore this deadline. The issues for residential users can be serious, but the consequences for businesses hold additional threats and even possible legal ramifications.

Here’s How You and Your Business Can Be Impacted by Not Upgrading

  • Security Risks: Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information are vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. Malicious viruses will very likely be unleashed on XP’s “zero day.” Undefended computers can be completely immobilized with viruses quickly spreading over the net to PCs still operating on XP. No business owner wants to think about a virus spreading through all of their computers. All of the data that keeps your business functioning will be placed at risk.
  • Compliance Issues: Businesses that continue to operate on XP can actually face compliance issues. Resulting compliance issues can lead to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation in the process.
  • Upgrade Expenses: If you think a system upgrade is just too expensive, Computer Troubleshooters urges you to reconsider this viewpoint. Many technical experts consider using an unsupported product such XP, as an act of irresponsibility on the part of the business. Remember that the problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade. Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish when it comes to investing in an upgrade.
  • Custom Support Available for a Price: In fact, there will still be some support available to XP users after the deadline, but at the annual cost of $200 per device. Depending on the number of computers your business is using, it’s not much of a bargain. In reality, this is only a temporary, contingency plan.

Upgrade Today!

Playing “chicken” with this deadline is tempting fate and there can be serious consequences. You can find yourself in the cross-hairs of cybercriminals on April 8th and potentially face business compliance problems. If you are still using XP, take action today. Call Computer Troubleshooters and one of our experts can help you understand your XP migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy. Call Computer Troubleshooters before it’s too late. The final countdown is now! Are you prepared?

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The Final Countdown to Microsoft’s XP April 8th Deadline

In 2002, Microsoft presented its official Support Lifecycle Policy that was based on detailed customer feedback. The predictability of support services was cited as a very important issue for Microsoft’s customers. Microsoft responded accordingly by alerting customers years in advance that the XP operating system and Windows 2003 have an “end of life” date scheduled for April 8, 2014. Although XP and Windows 2003 have been very popular, Microsoft will no longer support these products after the April 8th deadline. This information has been well-publicized by Microsoft for many years. There are still over 600 million worldwide XP users and it seems that many have chosen to simply ignore these repeated notifications. We can assume that users who have not upgraded by now fall into one of two categories. The first group includes those who are willing to take their chances and plan to continue using Microsoft legacy products that are no longer supported. The second group is XP users who are truly unaware of the deadline. Do you fall into one of these two groups?

The Final Countdown is Now!

After years of these “end of life” warnings, XP and Windows 2003 are now in the final days of the deadline countdown. Surprisingly, one of Microsoft’s latest strategies has been to ask for help. Computer Troubleshooters recently posted a story on our Facebook page about how Microsoft had begun taking a grassroots approach to spreading the word. Microsoft resorted to asking for help by seeking volunteers to remind business owners, friends, family and colleagues about the upcoming XP deadline. Via their blog, Microsoft asked experienced and technically savvy users to help others understand why it is important to make the switch to Windows 8 and to make the upgrade now!

Ignoring this Deadline is Not an Option

Some users claim a variety of reasons for resisting this XP upgrade, but don’t forget that there are a few key reasons you cannot ignore this deadline. The issues for residential users can be serious, but the consequences for businesses hold additional threats and even possible legal ramifications.

Here’s How You and Your Business Can Be Impacted by Not Upgrading

  • Security Risks: Without the security provided by an updated operating system, all of your business data and personal information are vulnerable to harmful viruses and spyware. Malicious viruses will very likely be unleashed on XP’s “zero day.” Undefended computers can be completely immobilized with viruses quickly spreading over the net to PCs still operating on XP. No business owner wants to think about a virus spreading through all of their computers. All of the data that keeps your business functioning will be placed at risk.
  • Compliance Issues: Businesses that continue to operate on XP can actually face compliance issues. Resulting compliance issues can lead to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to securely maintain its systems and customer information. Compliance problems can place your business in legal peril and seriously damage your business’ reputation in the process.
  • Upgrade Expenses: If you think a system upgrade is just too expensive, Computer Troubleshooters urges you to reconsider this viewpoint. Many technical experts consider using an unsupported product such XP, as an act of irresponsibility on the part of the business. Remember that the problems that are likely to arise can cost your business significantly more than the upgrade. Don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish when it comes to investing in an upgrade.
  • Custom Support Available for a Price: In fact, there will still be some support available to XP users after the deadline, but at the annual cost of $200 per device. Depending on the number of computers your business is using, it’s not much of a bargain. In reality, this is only a temporary, contingency plan.

Upgrade Today!

Playing “chicken” with this deadline is tempting fate and there can be serious consequences. You can find yourself in the cross-hairs of cybercriminals on April 8th and potentially face business compliance problems. If you are still using XP, take action today. Call Computer Troubleshooters and one of our experts can help you understand your XP migration options and work with you to develop an upgrade strategy. Call Computer Troubleshooters before it’s too late. The final countdown is now! Are you prepared?

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Adapting Your Business to a Mobile on the Go World

Mobility has quickly transformed the way most of us are now working. According to recent research over 50% of mobile phone users use now regularly use their mobile phone to access the internet. This rate has nearly doubled over the past three years. Are you using mobile internet features to enhance your business?

Increase Efficiency and Effectiveness with Mobility

The increased need for productivity coupled with affordable technology has shifted employees away from being tied to a desktop PC. Workers equipped with mobile devices are now communicating with customers from their cars and accessing data from the Cloud while working at home. Employers and employees can keep projects up to date by easily sharing information via mobile devices at any hour of the day. Mobile flexibility is enabling businesses to quickly move forward with enhanced efficiency.

Consider some of the following mobile efficiencies that can help your business:

  • Continuously Connected employees have the flexibility to work from home, while on the go and during travel. Conducting business is now a 24/7 proposition. Accessing information from the office while you are at the airport creates greater efficiency for you and your business. Perhaps you don’t want to be at the airport? Virtual meetings can conveniently connect you with colleagues and customers while saving time and money. Productivity with flexibility has become our new reality.
  • Protecting Company Data has become an increasingly important concern for business owners with the advent of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Flexibility has ushered in the trend of employees bringing their own mobile devices into the workplace. This means that company data is probably stored on employees’ mobile devices. What would happen if an employee’s laptop is stolen and it contains confidential business data? Many businesses are now protecting sensitive data by using remote wipes and encryption software on employees’ personal devices in addition to the use of mobile virtual workspaces. Businesses need to establish written BYOD policies and educate their employees about security practices. Many businesses now require employees to sign BYOD contracts. If your business doesn’t have BYOD guidelines in place, you are already falling behind in appropriate business practices.
  • Online Resources can efficiently provide businesses with professional training, technical skill development and new product training with the agility of “as needed” availability. Employees can connect to e-learning opportunities through their iPhone or Android devices from home. Business owners can easily take advantage of online management guides and financial tools that can benefit their business.
  • Mobile Apps are available to help you run your business more effectively and efficiently. Business owners previously needed a core foundation of various office programs, an e-mail system and some industry-specific software to keep their business functioning. Now there are a wide array of mobile Apps that can help business owners with time management, scheduling, travel expenses, cash flow, accounting and e-mail organization. There are Apps for nearly anything a business owner needs and they are easily available. Many of these Apps enable small businesses to compete with larger companies, plus you can run your business from anywhere.

Is Your Business Prepared for a Mobile World?

Computer Troubleshooters can work with you to assess your mobility needs and develop a plan to keep your business’ technology up to date. If your business needs to move to Cloud services, utilize mobile Apps or strengthen data protection – we can help. Computer Troubleshooters is here to help your business stay productive and efficient through mobile technology. Give your local Computer Troubleshooters office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.

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