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Archive

Archive for the ‘New Tech Trends’ Category

PC’s and Windows XP – headed for the trash heap?

April 1st, 2012 No comments

Many people believe that with the advent of tablet computers and increasingly sophisticated smartphones, that the good old PC is soon to become extinct.  A survey, although quite unscientific, that was conducted by the folks at Slashdot.com, seems to say the opposite.

In response to the statement “My PC accounts for ____% of my computing time”, the following results were tallied:

  • 0 to 20% – 4% of readers
  • 20% to 40% – 5% of readers
  • 40% to 60% – 8% of readers
  • 60% to 80% – 18% of readers
  • 80% to 100% – 57% of readers
  • I don’t own a PC – 3% of readers
  • I use mine for a footstool – 2% of readers

So, it seems that at least for now, the PC remains the mainstay of the computing world. 

For devotees of the much beloved Windows XP though, the opposite may be true.  According to Net Applications, an Internet metrics firm, the use of Windows XP dropped to 45.4% of all operating systems this February, while Windows 7 has increased it’s share to 38.1%, and is on track to take the lead from XP in June of this year.  Although XP users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8, set for release this fall, it is expected that most business users will choose to upgrade to Windows 7 rather than make the jump to the new touch screen capable interface of Windows 8 and incur the cost of the additional employee training it requires.

Given that Microsoft will stop producing security updates and offering support for Windows XP in April 2014, it is highly recommended, especially for businesses, that XP users upgrade to Windows 7 this year. If you are running applications designed specifically for XP, the upgrade should be to either the Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate Editions, due to their support of XP Mode (XP running in a virtual machine). It is not guaranteed that Windows 8 will offer that capability.

For a limited time, Small Business Technology Solutions is offering a free assessment of your current workstation configurations, and a 15% discount on the installation cost of any upgrade to Windows 7.  Contact us today to schedule a visit!

Study finds that most computer malware infections are due to user actions

November 7th, 2011 No comments

According to a Microsoft study released last month, the software giant found that 44.8 percent of malware attacks on Windows based systems were the result of an action taken by the computer’s user. It may have resulted from simply clicking a link or downloading an infected file, and the user was probably duped into doing it. When malware, or malicious code, is allowed to be installed on a computer, it can give hackers any number of capabilities, including complete control of the infected computer. If that computer is connected to a network, attackers can often access other connected PCs and servers.

The next greatest source of malware, comprising 26 percent of attacks originated in infected USB and other storage devices. A user plugging in an infected iPod or smartphone into a USB port simply to charge it can transfer the malware to the computer and other machines on the network it is connected to. Also high on the list were ads for rogue security software (see the graphic above for some common examples) which cybercrimanals use to con users into downloading malware; and the exploitation of weak user passwords, which remains a common problem even today.

The study also found that roughly 90% of all malware targeted vulnerabilities that had a security patch available for a year or more. In the first half of 2011, between one-third and one-half of all exploits went after weaknesses in Oracle’s Java products. The document format most exploited was the PDF file used by Adobe Reader and Acrobat. Keeping all software patched and up to date is of utmost importance in defending against malware attacks.

Microsoft statistics show that ninety percent of all email traffic on the internet is spam or unwanted by the recipient. Small Business Technology Solutions SPAM Firewall service is capable of filtering out nearly all of these messages, eliminating the majority of email based attacks before they even reach the user. As for malicious web sites, the Small Business Technology Solutions Web Untangler device will block user access to a list of bad sites that is continually updated as they go online.

But in the end, people are an organization’s last line of defense against threats such as malicious code, disgruntled employees, and malicious third parties. It is important to keep employees educated on the computer security best practices they need to incorporate into their daily business activities.

 

Categories: New Tech Trends Tags:

What is Unified Communications?

October 11th, 2011 No comments

Cisco UC320WUnified communications (UC) is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging, telephony, video conferencing and data sharing with non-real-time communication services such as voice mail, email and fax.  In its broadest sense, UC can encompass all forms of communication that are exchanged via the medium of the TCP/IP network.  UC allows an individual to send a message on one medium and receive the same communication on another medium. For example, one can receive a voice mail message and choose to access it through e-mail or a cell phone. If the sender is online according to their presence information and currently accepts calls, the response can be sent immediately through instant messaging or video call. Otherwise, it may be sent as a non real-time message that can be accessed through a variety of media.

The main advantage of unified communications is the reduction of communication response time, which often is essential in customer service, decision making and acting upon instructions.  Unified communications integrates all systems employees might already use, and helps those systems work together in real time.  It allows users to seamlessly collaborate with others, even if they are in separate locations.

Small Business Technology Solutions can provide the best unified communications products to fit your business needs.  Contact us today to schedule a review of your communication systems and start on your way to improved customer service and employee collaboration.

Food, water, shelter… internet?

October 11th, 2011 No comments

Food, water, shelter… internet?

2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report finds that 55% of college students and 62% of employees under 30 say they could not live without the internet

 

What ever happened to pizza, beer, music, dating and cars?  Cisco’s survey of 2800 college students and young employees in 14 countries revealed the following:

  • 1 in 3 of those surveyed consider the internet a fundamental human resource such as air, food, water and shelter.
  • 4 out of 5 believe the internet is vitally important and part of their daily life’s sustanance.
  • More than half think the internet is “an integral part of their lives.”
  • 2 out of 3 college students globally would choose an internet connection over a car.
  • 40% of global college students say the internet is more important than dating, friends or music.
  • 27% of global college students prefer Facebook to dating, friends or music.  Within certain countries, updating Facebook ranked as their highest priority over all other choices.
  • 66% of students and 58% of young employees cite a mobile device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet as “the most important technology in their lives.”
  • Only 4% of those surveyed said the newspaper is their most important tool for accessing information.
  • 1 out of 5 students had not bought a physical book in a bookstore (excluding textbooks necessary for a class) in the last 2 years–OR NEVER AT ALL!
  • 91% of students and 88% of young employees have a Facebook account.
  • 81% of those students and 73% of those employees check their Facebook page at least once a day.
  • 1 out of 3 of those students and 3 out of 10 those employees check their Facebook page at least 5 TIMES A DAY.
  • Students reported constant online interruptions while doing homework or projects from social media updates, instant messaging and phone calls –
    • 84% reported being interrupted at least once an hour
    • 24% said they are interrupted 3 to 5 times an hour
    • 12% said they are interrupted so often they lose count
  • 70% of employees surveyed “friended” their managers and/or co-workers on Facebook, indicating a blurring of work and personal lives.
  • Of employees who use Twitter, 68% follow the activity of either the manager or colleagues.

 

What does this mean to you and your business?  Attitudes toward information access, mobile devices, and social media will influence the future of work –from business communications and work lifestyles to corporate cultures and talent acquisition.  As a result, increasing demands for information access

will put new demands on businesses and their networks.

Categories: New Tech Trends Tags: