Fall 2019 Feature Update

As everyone knows, installing Windows 10 updates can be full of headaches. Over the years, Microsoft would release updates that would damage other functions or features within the operating system. However, it's a catch 22. It's imperative that small businesses patch and update their computers to keep them running safe, secure, and in tiptop shape.

Microsoft releases a feature update twice a year. The typical release dates are once in the spring, and once in the fall . Feature updates are significant updates to the operating system that does both security patching, and adds new features to the operating system. These updates typically take longer, and require more resources to successfully complete.

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How To: Change Icon Sizes

Windows 10 allows you to choose from a plethora of options and customizations. Microsoft has done a great job with that. Although most small businesses tend to keep the default settings in place, some users like to change the way the interface looks and customize it to their liking.

One of the popular customizations in Windows 10 is the ability to change the size of the icons. Depending on the size of your monitor, you may want to change the size of the icons to match what you're trying to do. Others might want to change the size of the icons due to their eyesight recommendations.

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Identifying Dangerous Emails

As you may have known, there are billions of emails sent every day around the world. In those emails, the opportunity for malware and viruses to make their way into your inbox seems to be very possible. Of those billions of emails, less than 3% actually contained dangerous attachments that could do harm to your small business. Less than 3% of those billions of emails translates into millions of emails. The best way you can protect your small business is by knowing exactly how to spot the threat when it comes in.

Some dangerous emails are harder to spot than others. The bad guys are becoming more and more sophisticated in their attacks. If you come across the following signs, you can assume the email is dangerous.

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Bandwidth Needs for Small Business

Making sure your small business has the proper bandwidth on your Internet connection is extremely important. You'll want to make sure you find the best balance between cost and speed.

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Temperature and Humidity For Small Business Technology

As we approached the cooler and drier seasons, monitoring the environmental conditions in your small business is critical to ensure the uptime and reliability of your technology. Maintaining the recommended temperature and humidity levels in your small office can help reduce unplanned downtime caused by environmental conditions and save your small business thousands of dollars.

What is the recommended temperature?

Operating your small business technology for extended periods of time at either high temperatures or low temperatures greatly reduces the reliability and longevity of those components and will likely cause unplanned downtime. The recommended ambient temperature for your IT technology is to keep it between 68 degrees and 78 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal system reliability. This recommended temperature range gives you a safe buffer for your equipment in the event the air conditioning or heating fails while making it easier to maintain a safe relative humidity level.

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Do you still have Windows 7?

Back in 2009, Microsoft made a commitment to give support for Windows 7 for a 10-year period. After that, Windows 7 will no longer be supported. The specific end date For Windows 7 will be January 14th, 2020. After January, any technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update will no longer be available. Microsoft has recommended to anyone Using Windows 7 to upgrade to Windows 10 before the end of this year.

What does this mean for my small business?

If you're running Windows 7 in your small business after January 14th, 2020, you will no longer be able to receive any security updates. It's extremely important to get a more updated operating system such as Windows 10 to give your small business the latest security updates in order to keep your data safe.

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Tips for better passwords

The old way small businesses have created passwords is just not cutting the mustard anymore. Typically, small businesses will just create a simple easy to remember, short password so they can quickly log onto their devices. However, with high profile data breaches, phishing schemes, and brute force attacks, there are a plethora of ways that criminals can break into your account and steal your information.

Here are a few simple ways you can protect yourself and your small business.

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Slow Computer? Here's What To Do

As everyone knows, the more you use your computer, over time your computer will slow down and become more sluggish. Your Internet browser will go slower, opening up applications will become sluggish, and when you reboot your computer it seems to take forever.

Windows 10 users are no exception to this. Even the latest operating system tends to fall victim to occasional slowdowns. This can be extremely frustrating for your small business and reduce your overall efficiency. Here are some tips that will help you keep your computer running smooth, fast, and may eventually help save you some cash.

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Ransomware in Small Business

Have you ever wondered what the deal is with ransomware? You may have read it about it online or heard it on the news. You may know a friend that got hit with ransomware or know of another business that did. If you want to know a little bit more about ransomware and how to protect your small business, you've come to the right place.

What exactly is ransomware?

Ransomware, or sometimes called ransom malware, is a type of malware that prevents you as a user from accessing any of the data on your computer or being able to access your computer at all. All of your documents, whether it be PDFs, word documents, or QuickBooks files, won’t be accessible. You can try to open them, but the computer won't let you. Your computer is basically rendered useless unless you pay the ransom to the bad guys so they can send you a key to unlock all of your encrypted files. In the late 80s, payment was sent to the bad guys via snail Mail. Nowadays, the bad guys want payment sent via cryptocurrency or even your credit card. Statistics show, that only 50% of paid ransoms actually get the key returned to unlock your small business files.

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What is Cache and Cookies + Why and How to delete them

Small businesses typically use a computer for 8 or more hours each day. Each website that you visit typically has a composition of 100 or even thousands of files. Even websites that you visit which are professionally optimized, in order to display the content, the server still has to load many files.

The very first time you visit a website, the browser that you are using will save pieces of that website to your local computer. The reason for that is when you visit that website again, it will pull up the website much faster only loading the fresh files from the server. These files are called cached files that ultimately help reduce the load time.

Why should small businesses remove those saved files since they are helpful in loading web pages?

Quite often, web developers will make changes to their website while it is already published on the Internet. If you have old versions of cached files, your computer will continue to use those old versions. You won't see the new updated information from that website. In addition, you may also encounter browser errors like a runtime error, missing button on the page, or you’ll be unable to save content (just to name a few).

Deleting your cache and cookies in your favorite browser will help fix these potential issues.


How do I delete these files for my small business computer?

In Chrome:
On your computer, open Chrome.
At the top right of your screen, click on the 3 vertical dots
Click More Tools > Clear Browsing Data
At the top of that window, choose a time range. To delete everything on your computer, select all time.
Next to “cookies and other site data” and “cached images and files”, check the boxes.
Click clear data.
In Firefox:
On your computer, open Firefox.
Click on the View History icon in the top right (looks like 3 books standing on end with a book leaning at an angle)
Click on history
Click on Clear recent history
Select time range to clear: We recommend choosing “everything”
Check the boxes for “cookies” and “Cache”
Click on “Clear Now”
In Internet Explorer:
On your computer, open Internet Explorer
Click on the gearbox on the top right of your window
Select Tools > Safety > Delete browsing history
Only select Temporary Internet files AND Cookies and website data
Click delete

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Hackers may target your small business

 

There seems to be a common myth among small business owners that their computers and information aren't what hackers really look for. They don't really have an interest in attacking the little guys. These assumptions have been proven to be wrong.

Studies have shown that cyberattacks target small business at a very high rate. In fact, the Verizon 2019 data breach investigations report has shown that 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. The criminals who launched these attacks look for easily accessible data for their benefits. Data such as credit card details, customer contact information, or other personal information is what they strive for.

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Another major flaw with Intel chips puts small business security at risk

Software engineers and companies are always looking to address issues with their hardware when it comes to security. Hardware issues are exponentially more dangerous than software issues. Why? Because hardware is a manufactured piece of equipment and can only be changed by remanufacturing new hardware. Software can be updated or changed instantly through an online update.


With that being said, there is a new discovery of a flaw in a range of Intel chips in PCs. Currently, this flaw has not been exploited yet, however, if it does, a user can be granted backdoor access to your small business PC putting all of your business data and sensitive information at risk.
This new vulnerability is now referred to as the “SWAPGS” security flaw. This security flaw was discovered by a bit defender researcher and presents a highly dangerous security flaw in most modern Intel chips.

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Small Business Computers: Custom Built Over Big Box

Small businesses prefer custom built computers over those from the shelf at your local store.

Why?

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Announcing the launch of our new website

Side by Side IT is super excited to announce the launch of www.sidebysideit.com. The goals of our new website are to not only give our visitors and valued clients the ability to see what we do and the services we offer but to also explore, educate, inform, and inspire all topics of small business IT. We hope you enjoy our new site that is easy to navigate and user-friendly.

Homepage

Our prospective clients and guests will find out information about our small business, what we do, what services we offer, and why we are unique in the small business community. There are direct links to all our services including IT support, IT consulting, our Tech Up-To-Date service, Small Business VOIP phones, and Data Storage and Backup.

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Contact Side by Side IT

Phone: (573) 824-2484
Contact Us Online
Mailing Address: 
5205 Kersting Dr | Columbia, MO 65202
Service Area: Columbia, St. Louis, and Kansas City
Hours of Operation: 9am - 5pm Monday through Friday

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