Posts Tagged ‘computers’

Safeguarding Your Emails

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Safeguarding your data files, including your emails, is, in most instances, extremely important and, in general, very simple. Backups of data files to online sources, external drives, or network locations are among the multitude of options to ensure you do not lose your files or emails due to hard drive crashes. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security, helps establish guidelines in their published Security Tip (ST06-008).
Lost emails can be very detrimental to your business – even causing possible legal actions to be taken against you or your organization. If you are using an email program like Outlook, you should regularly backup your .pst or .ost database to ensure compliance with government authorities like the United States Internal Revenue Service. Hard copies of emails are also an effective option for ensuring that important documents are not lost or destroyed and are often dictated by your organization’s standard operating procedures.

The Next Windows “End of Life” Issue

Monday, May 26th, 2014

As you know, Microsoft stopped providing support for Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003 last month and, while it has been a challenge (and still is for some), most people have accepted it and moved own. Windows 8.1 was a good fit for most of the old Windows XP systems and functions pretty well on them. Windows Vista is scheduled to be supported until 2017 so no issues there yet – besides, most Vista users have already moved on. However, the next big “End of Life” issue (just over the horizon) will be for small businesses – Windows Server 2003 gets axed by Microsoft next year, July 2015. One of the most unfortunate issues with this revelation is that many of the existing Windows 2003 servers owned by small businesses will not support the current server operating system offerings. If nothing is done, many small businesses may be forced to eliminate their servers and Microsoft Exchange in the process and have to find other options. The cost of a new server can run upwards of $2500 – not a bill that struggling small businesses seeing more regulation and cost heaped upon them can easily absorb. Only time will tell if Microsoft stays on top of their game and offers small businesses an out with something like Windows 8.1 which works well on most Windows XP systems. Until then, small businesses with servers need to start looking at their options.

The Strength of a Good Password

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Good account passwords are extremely important! Whether you’re using MI-Connection in Mooresville, Time-Warner in Cornelius, Charter in Denver, Windstream in Davidson, or an AOL account in Statesville, if you do not have a good password then you’re setting yourself up for problems. Hackers can easily push past simple passwords and gain access to your accounts. A password like “aol123″ isn’t going to protect anything – your first line of defense against hackers and, effectively, identity theft, and the subsequent problems associated with that, is a good password.
Good passwords contain both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and non-alphanumerical symbols such as !, @, $, %, or & when applicable. Be aware that some providers do not allow all characters but mix it up as much as possible.
Use password length to your advantage. The longer the password, more difficult it is to hack using a brute force method. Using a brute force application and the processing power of a standard desktop computer, a simple 5 character (letter only) password can be identified within 24 hours. Tripling that length – say a 15 character (letter only) password – increases the time associated with brute force applications by more than ten times. Adding the numbers and symbols, as suggested above, makes the brute force method extremely time consuming and much less probable.
Do not use common words found in a dictionary. This makes your password much less secure and even easier to hack. Additionally, do not use personal information because this too can easily be accessed by hackers using Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media information found in simple internet searches.
Finally, change your passwords regularly. Monthly or quarterly changes are sufficient for most applications. When you do change your password, don’t use just two or three that you rotate, use several and even change them up.
If your password does get hacked, change it immediately! Also, change your security questions on the hacked account. It would also be a good idea to change the passwords and security questions on your other accounts just in case.