Posts Tagged ‘computers’

PC Preventive Maintenance: “Prevention is better than cure.”

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Many of us make resolutions to take better care of ourselves this time of year – we resolve to eat better, to exercise more, and to stress less. We may resolve to take better care of our homes – replacing the gutters or the roof, making much needed repairs to the exterior, or painting that room that’s been needing it for several years. Prevention, whether to protect ourselves, our homes, or our cars, is essential and worth, as Benjamin Franklin said, “a pound of cure”. So how about your computer? Are you completing scheduled preventive maintenance to protect your investment – or, more importantly, your data? Basic preventive maintenance for your computer should include completing data and system backups, external cleaning, antivirus definition updates, operating system and software updates, and cleaning out and defragmenting your hard disk drive. Over the next few months, we’ll use this newsletter to discuss each of these components of your computer’s preventive maintenance. Let’s start with backups.
Creating and maintaining a current set of backups is the first and most critical part of your computer’s preventive maintenance. Without backups, data recovery can be very expensive and, unfortunately, in some cases impossible. The primary storage component for your operating system, programs, and files is your computer’s hard disk drive or solid state drive (which is becoming more common). Hard disk drives provide magnetic storage of your data and are relatively robust. Most hard disk drives have life spans of seven years or better but all those moving parts, from stepper motors to read/write heads, can fail at any time leaving your data locked in a proverbial steel tomb. Additionally, there are malicious programs, often delivered through email attachments, which can encrypt your pictures, documents, and files, leaving them completely inaccessible. Solid state drives, propelled by the technological advancements, are small light-weight devices with no moving parts. Like a flash drive (or thumb drive), solid state drives rely on transistors situated on a thin oxide layer to store your data. Voltages exceeding the thresholds of these oxide layers, including static electricity, can cause catastrophic damage to the layers destroying the flash memory devices. Unlike hard disk drives which often emit growls and death rasps before their failure, solid state drives tend to just stop working.
Backups can be completed to local external drives, cloud-based storage facilities, or both. Windows operating systems offer a File History utility that allows you to schedule backups to a local external drive and recover or restore files at any time. Most external backup drives also come with their own software that can be used to create and schedule backups. Lastly, several companies offer cloud-based backups that store your data files off-site in a storage facility for a monthly subscription fee.
Next Month, we’ll discuss the second component of preventive maintenance, external cleaning.

How Managed Services Can Help Your Business Succeed

Monday, October 12th, 2015

  By definition, managed services is a process whereby a business offloads it’s IT operations to an IT service organization that assumes the responsibility of 24/7 monitoring, managing, troubleshooting, and problems resolution for the IT systems within the business generally on a subscription basis.
If you’re waiting for computer problems to occur and reacting the way many small business owners do, you’re likely dealing with unnecessary downtime and stress at work, you’re looking at higher costs in the break-fix model where “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and you’re overlooking the serious benefits that larger businesses have been taking advantage of for years. By dealing proactively with your business IT infrastructure, you can reduce your downtime, the frustration experienced by your employees and customers, and the repair costs associated with catastrophic failures.
If you’re interested in managed services, contact us at info@cetofnc.com for a quote.

Protecting your children online

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

Over the last two weeks, we, your computer magicians at CET, have seen several systems infected with viruses due to “tween” sons straying from homework assignments into some of the worst garbage on the internet. It was one of this summer’s biggest news stories that has ultimately resulted in the ‘unintended’ proliferation of pornographic images across television, the internet, and Facebook postings. Strange to ponder and difficult to imagine but today’s teens and tweens are subjected almost nonstop to sexually explicit images. In an article published Monday, September 21, in “Christian Today”, the writer laments the fact that today’s teen and tween boys (and girls) are practically encouraged to engage in more and more risky behaviors involving sexting, videotaping, sending of sexually explicit images, taking part in sexually explicit conversations and surfing for pornographic websites and videos (http://www.christiantoday.com/article/xxx.church.advice.what.parents.should.do.when.they.catch.their.children.sexting/65311.htm). But there is a brighter side to that same technology that parents and grandparents can tap into – parental controls. In fact, nearly all internet-connected devices, from computers and gaming consoles to smartphones and tablets, can be configured for parental controls.
The website http://www.onguardonline.gov/ offers this breakdown of the different types of parental controls.
1. Filtering and blocking – limiting access to specific websites, words, or images
2. Blocking outgoing content – preventing the sharing of personal information online
3. Time limiting – setting limitations on the amount of time or hours of the day access is available
4. Monitoring tools – software or configurations that warn parents or record information regarding certain activities on the monitored system
Your child’s safety is important and unfettered access can be a pitfall, particularly for tween boys. If you need help, we’re here to assist you. Call us or come by our office.