Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

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Moving On From Windows XP

If you haven’t already, you should seriously consider making the move away from Windows XP because in case you haven’t heard: Microsoft has stopped providing support for the operating system. Not only does this make your business’s computers much more vulnerable to viruses and spyware, but the lack of support automatically puts you behind the curve in both the personal and professional business setting.

We’ve done some internal and external research on the importance of moving away from Windows XP Here are a few tips we’ve compiled.

Before you make the switch:

  1. Download the final XP update that was issued on April 8th 2014.
  2. Make sure your anit-virus and anti-malware are up to date.
    • Microsoft has agreed to provide anti-malware updates to Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows XP until 2015.
    • You might have to uninstall and reinstall your current software to ensure that you have the latest version.
    • iSU recommends using one or more of the following programs: Kapersky, WebRoot, Avast! or AVG. Read more about our recommendations here.
  3. Use a secure and updated internet browser. We recommend Firefox or Chrome, especially since they are supporting Windows XP until 2015.

Making the Switch:

  1. windows XP RIPChoose a new operating system. And along with that, make sure your machine is new enough to support a secure and efficient OS. If not, you might want to consider upgrading your entire machine…and that’s a whole different ball game we won’t get into right now.
  2. Back-Up Your Data: It should go without saying that you should be doing this on a regular basis but at this time backing up your data is probably the most important step in the entire process.
  3. Migrate and Begin the Upgrade: there are several ways to go about doing this:
    • With plenty of DIY programs out there to choose from, migrating the data yourself is pretty easy to do. Some of the available options are: PC Mover Express, XP Migration with HP and Windows Migration Assistant
    • Microsoft has kindly provided a tutorial online for anyone looking to upgrade to Windows 7.
    • If you don’t feel comfortable taking this task on alone, another option is to switch to OSX by taking your Mac into the Genius Bar and having them help you out.

We know making a tech upgrade like this can be pretty scary unless you are savvy with these kinds of things but we cannot stress enough how important it is to adapt and change as technology does. Resisting these changes can put you and your business at a huge risk to hackers. Windows XP is now the most targeted operating system out there yet it’s still commonly used everywhere – every hacker knows this.

For more information on the demise of Windows XP and how to stay ahead of the game, check out these articles:

Why You Should Ditch Windows XP Now

Windows XP Isn’t Safe to Use Anymore

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Protect Your Personal Electronics

In light of the mass amounts of damage the Boulder flood caused to residents’ personal property, more than ever iSupportU encourages our clients to protect their personal electronics. Protecting your laptops, desktops, tablets and any other expensive devices you may have in your home is easier than you think. Learn more about the options available and how to be prepared in case of damaged or stolen property.

  •  geico logoHomeowners/Renters Insurance: Most insurance companies provide protection for personal property. Depending on the company and insurance plan, available options may include actual cash value according to the market, replacement cost and allstate logoother coverage based on the items you would like to insure. This coverage may be different from flood insurance so do your research. Renters Insurance is another easy option and provides flexibility for all ranges of property worth. Start by calling your insurance agent.
  • american-expressAmerican Express: Using your credit card for purchases made on electronics provides you with Purchase Protection and the option for Extended Warranty Coverage. On a base level, this worldwide coverage allows protection from theft and damage for up to 90 days after a purchase is made with the card for up to $1,000 in costs. Upgrading to a Platinum level or beyond adds a greater coverage amount and the Extended Warranty option will add an addition year onto manufacture warranties. Learn more on the American Express website.  
  • square trade logoSquareTrade: A company dedicated to personal property protection plans, SquareTrade offers support for iPads, iPhones, Laptops, Tablets, SmartPhones, Cameras and Televisions. Each category breaks down into specific brands and devices to create a unique protection plan for every situation. Visit their website for more info and to get quotes on protecting your electronics.

Contact iSupportU with questions or concerns on computer support services or iPhone repair. We are always here to assist our clients with personal or business IT services.

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The Cloud: Business Continuity

As part of our Business IT Support Services, iSupportU implements cloud services solutions for our clients and within our own office. In addition to many other benefits, cloud computing solutions provide fluid business continuity specifically through our accounting and payroll services and CRM services. VirTerrus, iSU’s cloud computing services partner, helps us to create a balanced and cohesive work environment for our clients. Learn more about the benefits of cloud computing services:

Business Continuity

Encapsulates the idea that workers have uninterrupted access to the data and applications their productivity depends upon. The same virtualized infrastructure that enables workplace flexibility or WorkSurfing also provides a highly effective foundation for maintaining business continuity through disruptions of all kinds – planned and unplanned:

  • cloud-service-austin-txRoutine system maintenance
  • Power failures
  • Critical system outages
  • Seasonal illnesses
  • More serious situations such as natural disasters –
    flash floods, fires, tornadoes, blizzards, earthquakes, etc.

Given the potential a disruption has to substantially impact a company’s bottom line, due to diminished productivity, lost revenue, missed opportunities, failure to meet service level agreements and customer defections… It’s no wonder that business continuity is the number one reason to virtualize your apps and desktops.

Business Continuity planning has most recently focused on failover and disaster recovery for the datacenter. However, this is only part of the solution. Employees need access to:

  • Files
  • Applications
  • Data
  • Communication and collaboration tools

VirTerrus and iSupportU

Business continuity solutions offer applications at your fingertips, safe access to business assets, mobile device management, Windows app and desktop virtualization, file sharing, collaboration, remote support, and datacenter automation and recovery. This provides Business Continuity that is stress-free and reliable. 

  •  Disaster preparedness – streamline Business Continuity by taking advantage of
    virtual technology and numerous devices, eliminating the need for separate business continuity access tools and infrastructure
  •  Ensure the accessibility of IT services through
    swift, automated datacenter failover, load balancing, and monitoring capabilities
  • Deliver employees continuous access to their apps, data and collaboration tools during any kind of business interruption.
  • Safeguard and control private information accessed on any device and from any location.

Contact iSupportU for a free consultation on how the cloud can help your business.

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Five Tips to Consider When Moving or Opening a New Office

Our business team is constantly working on new network build-outs for clients who are either moving their offices to a new location or opening up an entirely new business. Business IT Services Director and project manager, Christina Savage, has learned a lot about this over the years. Here, she compiled five tips to consider when opening up a new business or moving to a new space.

  • Internet Service Provider (ISP) and Telco Options: This is the number one factor that goes overlooked. Before you sign a lease, contact your sales rep and see if the ISP will service the new area. If they can, great! Make sure you place an order to move your service and pay attention to install and cutover date. Chances are, you’ll need an IT tech on the ground to change settings on the internal network. If they can’t service the new area, you’ll need to reach out to other ISPs for bids. Installation can take weeks and sometimes months, so be well-prepared! Finally, make sure your bandwidth is sufficient for the number of users you’ll have. If you’re growing your office, you’ll probably need to pay for faster service and often, a dedicated connection like a T1 if there is VoIP involved.
  • voip-officeWiring: Does the new office space have sufficient wiring? Do you have enough ethernet ports in your offices? Has the existing cabling been tested by a cabling expert? Wiring is the backbone of your network infrastructure, so this is key!
  • Networking Needs: Do you need your employees to have VPN access? How about wireless connectivity? Do you need to have a guest network for your customers and visitors? This needs to be factored into the network design and will probably require new hardware. For example, if you’re moving into a much larger space, you’ll probably need an additional wireless access point (WAP) or two.
  • Desktop/end-user setup: Once you’re all moved in, will your employees need help setting up their computers to print or scan? Do you have a server to move in? How about specialized databases that end-users need access to? 
  • Project Management: Do you have an employee who will be in charge of managing this move and all of the vendors involved? Will they help coordinate and understand the technical needs enough to ensure that your office will open on time? At iSupportU provide full service IT consulting, so you’ll have a dedicated project manager who can take care of these details for you.

If you’re considering an office move or getting ready to open up a new business, give us a call! We’ll discuss your options and help you get going!

Computer Security

How To Keep Your Home Network Safe

With every passing year, we keep acquiring more devices in the home. Every iPad, iPhone and Internet enabled TV needs to get online. Just as we are increasing the number of devices on our home networks, we are looking at more threats to users from malicious hackers.

There are a few simple things you can do to ensure you keep you and your family secure while enjoying the pleasures of the Internet at home. Most of these things are simple enough to do your self, but some of them may require the use of a professional IT service.

  1. Wireless Network password: Your home router creates a ‘network’ to allow devices to talk to each other and get on the Internet. If your WiFi network does not have a password, it’s like keeping your front door open and hoping for the best. You are inviting any neighbor within range to hop on the network to engage in illegal activities or try to hack into the devices in your home. It is recommended that you enable a “WPA2 Personal – AES or TKIP” password on your home router device. Choose a password that will not be easy to guess, but is easy to share with others.

  2. home network safetyAnti-virus: All Windows computers should have anti-virus installed. While free versions of anti-virus will work if you have to, we recommend using a paid version. Here are some of the recommendations for great anti-viruses: Kaspersky, Web Root, Avast! and AVG. If the constant scanning slows down your computer too much, you can change the schedules so the scans only run once a day during some down time. At this point, it is not necessary for Macs to have anti-virus, but rest assured there are hundreds of malicious programs out there designed to attack the Mac. Given time, they will need the same protection as the Windows world

  3. Passcode locks: Just about every mobile device will have a passcode lock option in ‘settings’. It might surprise you to know how much information you are carrying around on your mobile device. This info needs to be protected because given enough time, you will encounter a situation where you have lost the device or it’s stolen. That being said, there are plenty of honest people in the world. If you lose your phone and you have a passcode lock, there is no way for an honest person to return your phone to you. This is why we recommend that you take a photo of your business card and set it to be your lock screen. This way, the person who finds the phone has the option to give you a call or send you an email to return the phone. It might not be as cute as a photo of your lovely dog, but it just might save you some headaches.