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Archive for July, 2015

Windows 10: Things to know today.

Windows 10

Windows 10 will change the way we use and think about Windows. Instead of a product, it will now be a service.

Windows 10: Just the basics you need to know.

If you want to know about Windows 10, just search Google or Bing for it. There are thousands of pages out there on the interwebs to tell you everything you could possibly want or need to know.

I’ve decided to bypass duplicating all that content for a short post that gives you just the important things you really need to know now.

When will I get Windows 10? What will it cost?

  • If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you can upgrade to Windows 10 for free until July 28, 2016.
  • If you have been keeping your updates current, and are on one of the above listed Windows, you should have already received a notification to reserve your copy. If you selected to get it, then you’re already in the queue. Users of Home and Pro versions will start receiving it at Midnight Eastern Time, July 29th. Microsoft will push it out in waves, though, so it may take a few days before you actually get it.
  • For Education and Enterprise editions of Windows, it becomes available a few days later, August 1st. It will still be free for these editions under your already existing Volume Licensing Agreement.

How will it install? Do I need to reformat?

  • Unlike previous versions of Windows, Windows 10 is designed as a straight upgrade. No need to reformat or install fresh.
  • Should I go ahead and get it as soon as my computer tells me it’s ready?

    • If you are a home user, or a single person business user, sure – probably. Unless you have some unusual hardware, there shouldn’t be any issue; but if you know you have some specific, unusual hardware, you should check for driver compatibility.
    • If you are a user on a business network with others, then don’t install it if given the opportunity. Refer to your normal IT procedures. That may mean asking your IT department (they should have probably already notified you how your business is addressing this), or checking with your IT service provider. If your business has a managed services contract, then the IT provider should have also already notified you regarding how your business will address Windows 10.

    I’m running Windows 7, but it’s an older computer. I’m worried it won’t work as well with a new operating system.

    • The minimum system requirements for Windows 10 are a 1Ghz 32 or 64 bit processor; 1Gb of RAM, and 16Gb of available hard drive space. Guess what? Those were the same original minimum specs for Windows 7! Since Microsoft has designed Windows 10 to be portable across devices including tablets, they have really concentrated on efficiency. The bottom line is that if your computer is currently running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, it can probably run Windows 10 just fine.

    After I get Windows 10 installed for free, what happens if I have to reinstall my computer from factory default?

    • Windows 10 will provide a method to create a DVD or USB that you can use to reinstall. And yes, if it’s the same device, that will still be a free and genuine copy of Windows 10.

    I received my notice about Windows 10 and reserved my copy. Anything else I need to do?

    • Well, even though you’re already backing your computer up (right?), it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make an additional backup, maybe an image backup, just in case. It’s highly unlikely anything will go wrong during the upgrade, but just in case.
    • Do you still have any data that you store on floppy disks? (Really?) Well, time’s up. Copy anything of floppy disks that you might still need—maybe old data archives or something—off to a USB flash drive, or cloud storage. Windows 10 will finally kill off the formerly ubiquitous floppy drive. Windows 10 won’t support floppy disks. (Depending on device, you may still be able to get a driver for a USB floppy; but really, just get rid of them!)

    So that pretty much covers the critical information you need for the next few days. But you may be wondering what’s the big deal about Windows 10? Well, here is a short list of some of the changes and new features.

    The Start Menu is back!

    • Probably the single biggest complaint Microsoft received about Windows 8 was the missing Start menu. Around since Windows 95, users were just too accustomed to having it around. So Microsoft brought it back in Windows 8.1, and now they’ve improved it. Similar to the Windows 7 Start menu, when you open it, it will have two portions, but they are more functional. On the left, you can have most used apps, recently added apps, and also you add links to folders. The right side will now be Live Tiles, which were introduced in Windows 8. There are a lot of new customization options for the Start menu, including a full screen option.
    • The search bar in the Start Menu also integrates Cortana (see below.)

    Goodbye Internet Explorer, hello Edge

    • The internet browser in Windows 10 is called Edge. It’s a completely new, standards compliant browser.
    • Like other browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, Edge focuses more on modern technologies that backwards compatibility. Edge will forego the legacy support that bogged down IE. Edge has no support for ActiveX, Browser Helper Objects, VBScript, or 3rd party toolbars built for IE11. This is a good thing: all of those hindered performance, and more importantly, caused the majority of issues with malware and viruses. This is a major improvement in both performance and security.
    • Edge tightly integrated with both Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) and Cortana (see below.)

    Siri, meet Cortana.

    • Cortana is Microsoft’s new digital assistant, a la’ Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now. Like Siri, Cortana is a “she” apparently. Since most people reading this will already be familiar with the capabilities of these digital assistants I’ll not go into all of that; but just mention that Microsoft has really integrated Cortana into the operation of Windows 10. It’s integrated into the desktop search, local search, Start Menu, and Edge. And of course, uses Bing as it’s source.

    What else?

    • Desktops: if you’ve ever used a Mac OS and wished you could have the multiple desktops on Windows (without installing some type of additional software) then this is for you. You can created multiple desktops for different tasks or sessions, locations, moods or whatever, and switch between them seamlessly.
    • File Explorer
      • Integrates Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service so that accessing and moving files back and forth between local and cloud storage is similar to just working with different local drives.
      • Libraries are on the way out. They aren’t displayed by default, but they can be turned on, and they can also be added to a new feature called….
      • Quick Access: I guess Quick Access isn’t so much new as it is an expansion of the Favorites area, which it replaces. It has all the same features but also adds dynamic views of recently used files and folders.

    There are a lot more new features, and some updates and makeovers of existing items; I was trying to keep this short and just cover the basics, so I won’t try to cover everything, but I hope this helps with any last minute questions you may have had.

    And remember, if your business is needing guidance regarding this or any IT need or process, contact WJP Enterprises for help. We’ve been helping businesses through OS migrations for over 21 years; we have the knowledge and experience  to help yours.

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Migration to Hosted Exchange 2013 Completed

Hosted Exchange 2013 migration completed for all clients

Hosted Exchange 2013

Hosted Exchange 2013 improves collaboration among your team and your clients.

Here at WJP Enterprises, we are proud to announce that we have recently finished the migrations of all our clients from Exchange 2010 to Hosted Exchange 2013. Here are just some of the benefits our clients received from the migration:

  • Faster performance
  • Outlook Web App completely redesigned; supports offline access.
    • Multiple calendar views
    • Optimized for tablets and smartphones
    • All features are supported in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari in addition to Internet Explorer, on Windows 7 or higher.
  • Built-in anti-malware
  • Redesigned Information Store (where it stores its data) to improve resiliency
  • SharePoint Integration right in Outlook

The are a lot more updates and upgrades that are more “behind-the-scene” technical in nature, and they all combine to make Hosted Exchange 2013 the most scalable, reliable, resilient email ecosystem ever available to small businesses.

Also, most of our Hosted Exchange 2013 email plans now include UNLIMITED mailbox storage, at the same price we used to offer 50Gb plans.

For the full Microsoft story on the benefits of Exchange 2013, read this article on Technet.

Additionally, we offer secure email options for both encryption and archiving that are PCI and HIPAA compliant.

Is your business still using onsite Exchange, or POP Internet email? Or worst of all, free email? Contact WJP Enterprises so we can improve the communication and collaboration around your office and with your clients and vendors.

 

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Small Business Security Tips for Business Owners

Small Business SecuritySmall Business Security

If you own and operate a small business, lowering costs is an important part of keeping your company in the black. Cutting costs on your IT budget could inadvertently compromise your company’s security. Even though small businesses may not have all of the resources that large corporations do, they are still just as vulnerable to the same security threats. Here are some ways to improve your small business security:

Purchase Anti-virus Software

Every computer is vulnerable to the wide variety of viruses, trojans, and worms that are on the Internet. These malicious software programs can do anything from damage your computer and files to steal your password and other important information stored on your computer. Purchase a good anti-virus software program and make sure that it is always up to date. Also, check to see that your anti-virus software checks for spyware, adware, and any other type of malware that could be hiding on your computer. Ideally, your anti-virus software should be managed, so that you can check that it is operating and getting daily updates. It can be managed on a local server, or from the Internet, or your managed service provider might monitor it through an “agent” on your computer (that also monitors many other aspects of your computer.)

Avoid Phishing Emails

It is important to discuss with your employees the importance of not opening spam email, attachments or forwards that could possibly contain viruses. Make sure that your email has a filtering system that helps to filter out spam and other malicious email. If you use hosted Exchange, make sure your provider has virus protection on your email (WJP Enterprises does). Responding to phishing emails can be another costly mistake. Phishing emails are disguised as legitimate emails that then request login and password information. Changing passwords monthly can help to lessen the damage should an employee accidentally respond to a phishing email.

Minimize Damage From Dishonest or Disgruntled Employees

It is often difficult to predict if one of your employees will become disgruntled or dishonest, but you can put some safeguards in place to help minimize the damage should you find that you have one. Thoroughly screen your employees before hiring them, especially if they will have access to any confidential or financial company information. Security on your network should be set up so that information is only accessible to users who have valid business purposes to it. User management policies should be set and and followed up on to ensure that former employees don’t continue to have access to company data.

Secure Your Wireless Network

Make sure that your wireless router is encrypted, and that your business is using WPA2 wireless security. A firewall is another important key to protecting the security of your small business. A firewall will allow access only to authorized users while blocking unauthorized access to the computer.

Have An Internet Use Policy

Aside from the obvious lack of productivity that personal Internet use can cause for your business, it can often be too easy to click on websites that contain malicious software that could easily infect your company computer and shut your system down temporarily or even permanently.

Avoid Having Everything on One Computer

Purchasing computer equipment is costly, so many small businesses will try to get away with fewer computers in order to save money. If you have your financial information on the same computer that your employees are accessing their company emails, you could risk losing everything that is vital to running your business should an infected email slip through.

Have a Data Backup System

Be sure to have some type of data storage and backup system in place in the event that your current system goes down. Having all of your files readily available to you in case of an emergency can ensure that your business will retain customers and continue to run smoothly no matter what the disaster.

Minimize Damage From Stolen Equipment

It difficult to prevent break-ins or equipment from being stolen from your home or office building, but you can have some security by ensuring that all of the information on your computer is encrypted and password protected.

Trying to scrimp when it comes to your small business’s computer security can be a costly mistake. Arm yourself with the knowledge of what your business could be up against and take steps towards prevention. The investment will give your company the security necessary to keep your information secure.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you keep your small business secure with our Network Security Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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Managed IT Services Providers Help You With Network Monitoring

Network monitoringMany small businesses rely on the networks within their organization. Can you imagine your business without the network which connects you to each of your team? Network monitoring is necessary for ensuring your network remains operational and functioning as it should in order for your business to carry out its daily activities.

What is Network Monitoring?

Network monitoring is a process which alerts business owners and key people to any problems that might occur over the network. It can also be used to keep track of supplies for printers, how much hard drive space is remaining and notify you when you’re running out of space, as well as software installations or uninstalls.

Network monitoring solutions can alert you when changes to the network require action, and assist you with the actions to ensure the problem is resolved quickly. Most problems with networks can be handled pro-actively, which means there is no need for the network to go “down”, or become unusable when the network is being monitored effectively.

You can also use quality network monitoring services to know when your software licenses are going to expire or contracts need renewing, as well as when to update various software programs with bug fixes to ensure everything is up to date and running as it should. Your antivirus software depends on your network to operate effectively.

Additionally, since your network only allows a limited amount of internet bandwidth for your entire staff to use, if one employee is hogging too much of that bandwidth, a traffic jam will form. Everyone trying to use the same network will experience decreased speed and a decrease in productivity but a network monitoring service can help you find bottlenecks as they happen and help to distribute the resources evenly across all users of the network.

Network Monitoring Outsourcing

For the majority of small or medium sized businesses, outsourcing the monitoring of your computer networks makes the most financial sense. If the network is not working, your business loses revenue and can’t operate. Training in-house staff to handle the network isn’t the best use of our time or resources.

Using Managed IT Services providers to handle network monitoring will save you time and money. Your network will have minimal to no down time, and no maintenance required on the part of yourself or staff members. This means you can focus your time on your daily business activities without worrying about the network that’s making it all possible.

Network Monitoring Services

Most small businesses require the following monitoring activities:

  • Monitoring Local Area Network data
  • Ping and trace route
  • Alerts to problems with the network

A Managed IT Services Provider will handle all aspects of monitoring your network, preventing most problems from occurring and providing solutions for any that do happen. For one monthly fee, a business can get all the information and alerts necessary, without having to train anyone in-house to know what to do in the event of every possible situation that can arise involving the network.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you reduce downtime with our 24x7x365 Network Monitoring Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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When Is Your Business Ready For Managed IT Services?

If you are a small business owner and considering whether or not Managed IT Services will benefit your company, the answer is almost always- yes. There is little doubt that most small businesses can benefit from Managed IT Services, yet that in itself does not always justify the cost of bringing on a third party provider. Accepting that Managed IT Services Providers can offer solutions to common problems found in small business operation, the real question is: when does it make sense to switch from in house IT solutions to the next level which includes Managed IT Services?

There is a good chance if you are already considering Managed IT Services the time might be near when you are ready to make the switch. Small business owners do not have the luxury of a never ending IT budget, therefore it is very important to recognize when your current IT management is no longer cost effective. For most small businesses this occurs when the business grows to the point of needing either a contract with a local service provider who is “on call” for IT needs or hiring a full time IT person to remain on staff. There is of course another option for small business owners to consider and that is hiring a Managed IT Services Provider to oversee their IT needs.

If you are still unsure that your business is ready for the switch, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you find IT costs are continually increasing?
  • Is it difficult to find and retain quality IT staff?
  • Is your network and workstation performance and speed decreasing?
  • Are your employees spending more time dealing with IT issues than focusing on job they have been hired to perform?
  • Do you have problems with viruses, spyware and other security issues that could threaten the confidentiality of proprietary information?
  • In the event of a natural or man-made disaster, would your network be at risk? Would recovery be a concern?
  • Do you find network downtime is increasing?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, then your business is ready for Managed IT Services.

Now that you have determined Managed IT Services are right for your business, the next challenge is finding the right provider of these services. This is a decision that should not be made lightly or rushed as the wrong provider can end up costing your company more money than your current situation. Before you begin the search for a Managed IT Services Provider you should first consider your IT budget as well as issues or problems you want to be addressed. It is important to remember that Managed IT Services are not a one-size-fits-all type of solution to business problems. Each business and industry has their own issues to contend with and a qualified Managed IT Services Provider will work with you to find the solutions that will benefit your company the most. If a potential provider is more intent on selling you services and not listening to the needs of your business, move on to another provider who is willing to listen to your concerns and offer customized solutions that address these needs. The point of outsourcing your IT management is to save money while freeing up time to focus on other business operations. For this reason it pays to put forth the effort to find the best Managed IT Services Provider to oversee your technology needs.

Click here to learn how WJP Enterprises, Inc. can help you benefit from Managed IT Services for your business in Brandon, Plant City, and the rest of Hillsborough and Polk counties.

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