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Last week I promised to talk about viruses – but I ran out of time and space. I have included a section today for you. Hopefully you are protected against these serious threats to your business.

Also there are less than 2 weeks to our seminar with Richard Bowles. Please register your interest by return email so we can secure the right venue for the number of people coming. This will be a great day of working on your business and not just in it.

As always I am available to respond to your requests and queries and provide you with answers.

Viruses are a Serious Business Threat

Jethro-Facebook-Virus-Protection

Have you ever been hit by a computer virus? If you have you will know just how annoying they can be. Even the “non-malicious” ones can suck away time by popping up ads, redirecting your browser or just slowing your computer down.

In this short summary I will identify the main types, causes and protection against malware and viruses.

Virus Types

First of all this is more than just viruses as a technical definition. I have included all the potential threats that can be injected into your computer against your will (either by someone else or by yourself accidentally). I have also summarised them by the threat result not the signature or type as defined by the security experts.

Browser Redirect

This is where your browser settings are hijacked and when you type in a web address your browser sends you somewhere else. It may also include pop ups and potentially the sites that you are sent to won’t let you leave without clicking through a number of dialog boxes. Typically these come from an extension or add in that often was not deliberately installed.

Malware / Adware

These are usually “harmless” in that they don’t attack your system or data, but they do popup ads constantly when browsing. These are similar to the browser redirect but often they came in via some software that was deliberately installed and included unknown and unrequested additional software.

Data Attacks

These attacks are malicious in that they can overwrite data, lock data against use with ransom requests, or even delete data. Typically they are introduced via an attachment in an email.

System Attacks

I have grouped together here all the attack types that damage your system, including boot sector viruses, file infectors, directory viruses and so on.

How they come

The two main ways that viruses are injected into your computer are via an attachment in email or from an infected website.

In order to protect against either a complex layer of threat protection must exist. Stopping attacks before they can even be clicked on is the best form of defence.

Unfortunately many people use a mish-mash approach to threat protection. While an individual pc at home is reasonably isolated and an infection can be cut out fairly easily with usually minimal loss and cost, the same is not true in an office of connected PCs. One user who clicks on a payload that installs and then replicates over your network can have devastating effects on employee downtime, loss of data, cost to remove and rebuild machines, and subsequent protection.

Many businesses also play the “lets buy every protection we can get” game with multiple software based solutions including firewalls, internet protection software and antivirus software and so on. This is actually a false protection in many instances because these overlapping technologies create gaps and cracks, often caused by the users themselves “allowing” threats through.

In addition users are often the worst threat to a business by losing computers and mobile devices that are insecure, providing the recipients of the unlocked devices with legitimate access to the businesses data and IT systems, and in using insecure email applications to access mail.

Best Practice Protection for your Business

Microsoft are the leading computer and software provider in this space. The combined hardware and software layered approach to threat protection includes the following aspects:

Hardware

Bit locker is available to encrypt hard drives. A lost device is no longer something to worry about.

UEFI Secure boot. Windows 10 has introduced the ability to lock the boot process to secure OS only, reducing the chance that a corrupt OS (loaded with malware or viruses) can even execute.

Better passwords. Multi factor authentication is removing passwords altogether.

Mobile Device Management. Online management of all your mobile devices including remote wipe is possible with Office 365.

Software

In front of the business. Forefront security is provided in Exchange for all those using Office 365. Spam and Malware threats are removed before they can even come to an email user.

In the business. Outlook has a sandboxed approach to allowing access to attachments reducing the chance that an infected file can be even opened let alone do anything once it is opened by a user who ignores all the warnings.

Windows Defender provides real time attack management identifying and quarantining malicious files downloaded from the internet.

Internet Explorer contains a Smart Screen filter and other browsing enhancements designed to recognise and stop potential website injected threats from being accessed or deployed.

Afterwards

If you are attacked, then there are some things you can do. First remove the machine from your network immediately. Disconnect the network cable, or turn off the Wi-Fi. Better yet turn the machine off and deliver it to someone like us to clean.

Ensure you have a data recovery clause in your insurance policy. Check with your broker, these clauses normally cost nothing to insert and can cover you for at least $5ooo to restore data after an insurance claim for damage.

Summary

Businesses cannot legitimately ignore the real threats that malicious software can pose on their business.

A multi layered protection is necessary and that includes training users.

Using numerous different protection systems is usually worse not better.

Microsoft’s layered approach using Windows 10 modern devices, Office 365, Windows Defender and Internet Explorer provides the best possible defence system. Mac users are also protected by using Office 365 from spam and malware, but they are still open to website based attacks.

Contact us now if you need to determine if your business is secure against these threats. We can have an obligation free chat about your specific scenario and what you can do about it.

An Extremely Unique Opportunity By An Extreme Individual

20151003 rich bowles seminar invite 1Learn the latest strategies in mastering your own mind, so you can fully commit & engage in the goals that you have set for yourself.

Richard Bowles holds world records on pretty much every continent on the planet, running the world’s longest and most rugged mountain ranges spanning from 1000km to 5,500km in length. Running up to 95km a day for weeks at a time, while tackling some of the most hostile weather and demanding terrain that the world has to offer, while carry all that he needs on his back.

Crocodile infested waters, exploding volcano’s, angry farmers with shot guns and being in the centre of a middle eastern desert warzone under missile fire is all in a day’s work for Richard, all the time pushing through the mental and physical barriers to conquer his success.

Over the last five years he has worked with some of Australia’s leaders in psychology and human performance, unpacking his own huge achievements to explore what it takes to succeed at any goal that is set before you, no matter the challenges and adversity that will be faced.

As a commitment and engagement strategist Richard helps you understand what is vitally needed to gain the goals that you have set for yourself. From his in-depth research he helps you understand that, Goals guide us, they don’t drive us.

If you are looking at a plan that will see you bullet proof your commitment to what you set out to achieve, and have you working towards your goals with ease, dedication and without burnout, then this is a seminar not to be missed.

We are partnering with Richard Bowles in delivering this exclusive seminar here in Brisbane CBD on the 3rd October from 9AM to 1PM. The cost is $89 and we will have a venue and ticketing options available soon.

Contact us today if you want more information.

New Gen6 CPUs and Motherboards now available

As mentioned in a previous newsletter the Computer Resellers often attempt to offload old stock at discount prices to susceptible buyers. The Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 range of Intel chips are now in their 6th generation. The starting number of the chip name indicates the Generation. E.g. an Intel Core i5 6400 is a 6th Gen chip. If you are planning on buying a new computer there is no reason to purchase old technology as it will run slower, use more power and generate more heat. As the manufacturers improve the chips in each successive generation to use power more efficiently and produce more results so the capability of your machine improves. Saving $100 now can lead to hours of lost time “waiting” for your computer to catch up. It is also economically better to purchase a new machine now that will last for 4-5 years than an older machine that will last 2-3.

Talk to us today if you are in the market for new or replacement computers. We can sell all computer equipment and also provide financing if needed.

Free Business Digital Skills Webinars

Yes Free!

I will be running some digital skills webinars for free to any of our customers who would like to learn more about how to get the most out of their digital technology.

Each webinar will be aprox 20 minutes long and can be joined using a weblink. They will be run every 2-3 weeks on a Wednesday at 2pm. They will also be recorded and made available online.

Subjects will include:

· Mastering Email – tips and tricks for a zero inbox, reducing time spent in email and other shortcuts

· Basic Spreadsheet design

· Using OneDrive and SharePoint

· Understanding Social Media

· And more

Email me back on tim@jethromanagement.biz if you want to be added to the invite list. There is no obligation or cost to attend. You will need an invite link to join the webinar. I’ll add you to the list I already have and we will start once we have enough.

Social Media for Business

facebook_logo-200Social media is constantly changing and it can be hard to keep up. There are always new features being added to the major social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Managing even 2 or 3 of these accounts for your business can make your life busy. And even if you have the “luxury” of delegating it to a staff member it can cause anxiety hoping they are doing it right.

Jethro has been active in managing social media accounts for many of our clients, from as little as creating the accounts and showing them how to use them to adding content and actively managing responses and engagement with customers. Just like you wouldn’t leave your phone ringing un-answered, so you should not leave comments and messages unanswered in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

We can establish networks relevant to your products and services, assist you to create and implement a social media strategy, run a one off campaign to improve engagement or around a specific event or just provide training for you or your staff in how to use these networks correctly for your situation.

If you want to talk more feel free to give me a call and discuss how we can help.

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

All content © Tim Miller. Feel free to share or send these emails on. If you want to unsubscribe just reply with Unsubscribe in the subject.

Do you have a proper backup of your data? Most people don’t. I have a check list below to determine if you do or not. Why is this important? I will also talk about some recent virus threats and the potential for loss of data without a correct backup.

Backups and Data Recovery

backedup infographicDo you actually have a proper tested backup that you can recover from? This is a critically important question now. We rely on our computers so much, and in business even more so. Imagine coming into work tomorrow and all your computers had been stolen. Now consider the effect that would have on your ability to trade, interact with clients, your staffs’ ability to work etc. How long would it take to be back up and running again? Do you have insurance not just for the physical replacement of Hardware but also the reconfiguration, and data recovery work required? Some recent recoveries we have performed cost well over $10,000.

An insurance policy is all well and good but if you don’t have up to date backup data to recover from it is even worse.

Most people do not actually understand what a backup is and isn’t, how to set it up properly and how to ensure that it can be recovered from. I have created this little check list below. See how well you fare!

Here is the Wikipedia Definition of a backup.

We would recommend the following as a minimum for any business.

  • PC Images – run at least once per machine and stored separately – e.g. in fireproof safe or offsite.
  • Backup scheduling to separate media, backup drive, server, cloud storage with separate sets (not just overwriting the last one)
  • Testing your recovery media regularly.
  • Data recovery insurance clause – typically costs nothing to add to your policy – check with your broker.

We also would recommend using a Data versioning tool like File History, SharePoint or Dropbox (note: this is NOT a backup)

Contact us now if you fail the checks and care about your data. We can have an obligation free chat about your specific scenario and what you can do about it.

An Extremely Unique Opportunity By An Extreme Individual

20151003 rich bowles seminar invite 1Learn the latest strategies in mastering your own mind, so you can fully commit & engage in the goals that you have set for yourself.

Richard Bowles holds world records on pretty much every continent on the planet, running the world’s longest and most rugged mountain ranges spanning from 1000km to 5,500km in length. Running up to 95km a day for weeks at a time, while tackling some of the most hostile weather and demanding terrain that the world has to offer, while carry all that he needs on his back.

Crocodile infested waters, exploding volcano’s, angry farmers with shot guns and being in the centre of a middle eastern desert warzone under missile fire is all in a day’s work for Richard, all the time pushing through the mental and physical barriers to conquer his success.

Over the last five years he has worked with some of Australia’s leaders in psychology and human performance, unpacking his own huge achievements to explore what it takes to succeed at any goal that is set before you, no matter the challenges and adversity that will be faced.

As a commitment and engagement strategist Richard helps you understand what is vitally needed to gain the goals that you have set for yourself. From his in-depth research he helps you understand that, Goals guide us, they don’t drive us.

If you are looking at a plan that will see you bullet proof your commitment to what you set out to achieve, and have you working towards your goals with ease, dedication and without burnout, then this is a seminar not to be missed.

We are partnering with Richard Bowles in delivering this exclusive seminar here in Brisbane CBD on the 3rd October from 9AM to 1PM. The cost is $89 and we will have a venue and ticketing options available soon.

Contact us today if you want more information.

Sync Shared Folders to your Computer with OneDrive

onedrive sync

One of the most common problems with emailing files around is that you get so many different versions as people send back edits or changes. Solve that problem and stop emailing files in one go by sharing them instead.

You can add folders shared with you to your OneDrive so they sync down to your computer. They'll look like any other folder, but when you edit files in shared folders the changes will show up to everyone else with permission for that folder.

Here's how it works:

  1. Go to your Shared list on OneDrive.com to check if folder(s) have been shared to you with the ability to edit.
    1. If there are none, create a folder and share it with edit permissions to your friends.
  2. From the Shared list, select the folder you want to sync and click 'Add to my OneDrive'.
  3. If you have the OneDrive app installed on your PC or Mac, the folder will also sync down unless you have opted to only sync some folders in OneDrive settings.
  4. The folder will also be accessible from your main OneDrive folder on OneDrive.com and on the OneDrive mobile app, if you have it installed.

Similar instructions apply to the OneDrive for Business tool in Office 365

You can sync shared folders on Windows 10, Windows 7 and Mac. If you're running Windows 8.1, upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

Talk to us today if you need help sharing files

Free Business Digital Skills Webinars

Yes Free!

I will be running some digital skills webinars for free to any of our customers who would like to learn more about how to get the most out of their digital technology.

Each webinar will be aprox 20 minutes long and can be joined using a weblink. They will be run every 2-3 weeks on a Wednesday at 2pm. They will also be recorded and made available online.

Subjects will include:

  • Mastering Email – tips and tricks for a zero inbox, reducing time spent in email and other shortcuts
  • Basic Spreadsheet design
  • Using OneDrive and Sharepoint
  • Understanding Social Media
  • And more

Email me back on tim@jethromanagement.biz if you want to be added to the invite list. There is no obligation or cost to attend. You will need an invite link to join the webinar.

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

Today I am providing some answers to common questions we get asked and not just focusing on Windows 10. However I will have one little Windows 10 section as well for those who have updated already.

Are you actually harnessing the power of Office 365?

Jethro-Facebook-Office-365-Mobility-Business

When you made the strategic decision to move some or all of your business to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365 that was a good call. But since you made that call have you actually extracted as much value from this tool as possible, or is a large part of your investment lying there just untapped?

With our free customer audits we offer the opportunity to discuss what you have in place and what you don’t but could be utilising. Here’s a quick checklist. Are you utilising the power of these products?

Feature

Description

Major Benefits

Who should use

Skype for Business

Instant Messaging and Hi Def Video conference communicator for staff, customers and suppliers

Find out about Skype for Business

Hi Def Video conversations

Instant messaging

Presence indicator

Tightly integrated with Outlook

Presentation and webinar system

Any business with multiple staff

Any business with customers or suppliers who use Skype or Skype for business

Anyone who uses Outlook heavily

Anyone who needs to share their content via voice conference or webinar (private or public)

SharePoint

Document management system

Find out about SharePoint

Multiple version management

Single point of reference

Reduce attachments in email

Remote / mobile access to documents

Collaborative (multi user) editing

Any business creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets, video content or PowerPoint decks

Any business with staff roles and security levels for access

Any user who has more than one device (e.g. laptop and PC, or tablet and mobile)

Any business who collaboratively creates documents

OneNote

Note taking application that includes web clipping, email saving and screen shot saving

Find out about OneNote

Organise notes, to do lists, screenshots, and other important information in one place.

Easily share some or all of any notebook with multiple people as read only or read write

Automatically syncs across every device you own with no need to save

Anyone who writes to do lists

Anyone who needs to store important information like passwords

Anyone who needs to share with staff important information e.g. shared notes about customers

Anyone who needs to create screenshots and turn them into images

Delve

Delve displays information that is most relevant for each person based on the work they are doing and the people with whom they are engaging

Find out about Delve

Surfaces information already being created in the organisation by other people you might not know about

Improves collaboration

Integrates with Yammer

Any business with a team working on a projects or shared work

Any user wanting to find other documents in the organisation

Any business with 3-5 or more staff who create and edit documents

Yammer

Private Enterprise Social Network.

Also allows connection with external networks

Find out about Yammer

Find information and answers to common questions easily

Communicate with peers and colleagues on projects and documents

Network with others inside and outside your organisation

Any business with multiple locations or remote workers

Any business that works with customers or suppliers who also use Yammer

Any business that runs projects

Sway

Online publishing tool

Find out about Sway

Create and share polished, interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more

Any business creating presentations or reports

Any user creating content

Anyone needing to provide a slick looking web presentation of their information or data

Contact us now to if you haven’t had your free audit or want to know more about any of these products.

SEO Is no longer an option for business it’s a Must

Here is a fairly long explanation of what SEO actually is if you ever wondered just what those telemarketers are offering when they ring up and say they can put you on the front page of Google. I debunk the myths and explain the actual science of SEO so business owners can understand it.

image001Definitions

  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation – commonly referred to as getting on page one of Google for a search. However there is a lot more to it than that. It is actually about ensuring that the website has all the components in place to assist the search engine crawlers (Bing Yahoo and Google) to rank you correctly. There are a number of components and I have attached a cheat sheet that describes most of these. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization
  • SEM – Search Engine Marketing – paying for ranking improvements by the use of AdWords, Click marketing and other techniques.
  • SMM – Social Media Marketing – very broad term around utilising social media as a marketing tool
  • Black hat SEO – refers to aggressive and often “bad” methods of attempting to “game” the crawler algorithms by taking advantage of them. Usually a short-lived approach and is generally only used by the scammers – those who call up in a foreign accent and tell you they want to help you improve your SEO. While these often work well for 1-2 months the end result is usually a lower result as you can get blacklisted for doing it.
  • White hat SEO – the professional approach to doing it right using known techniques that actually work.

Measurement

There are some easy ways to define measurement and then a whole range of additional metrics that are far more in depth and specific. The first task is of course a goal or goals that need to be set in order to measure improvement of the metrics against those goals. For example measuring the number of people who come to the site isn’t really relevant without adding in calls to action and then measuring those calls to action. Then you can determine if a particular piece of work changed any of those things.

Using Google analytics is extremely important and should be enabled by your web developer. If you are not sure ask us. Metric management is about tracking the specific stats against a goal and the changes as you do things. Google analytics can measure how many people clicked on the contact form page and how long they stayed there, where they came from and where they went next. Some of the specific things that can be measured external to the google analytics are the number of enquiries you receive from the website forms. This can then help us create a ratio as follows:

no of people viewing a sales page : no of people clicking from the sales page with a call to action to the contact form page : no of enquiry forms received : your conversion from those enquiries to sales. Example 1000:150:8:5

This then allows you to set a goal around that ratio metric – e.g. increase the numbers or improve the ratios.

The actual measurement then requires three things:

  1. A measureable goal
  2. The stats being collected from the website
  3. And the additional stats provided by yourselves.

Additionally Goals themselves should be what is known as SMART goals:

Creating S.M.A.R.T. Goals

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Specific: A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:

  • Who: Who is involved?
  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • When: Establish a time frame.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.

EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week.”

Measurable - Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……

How much? How many?

How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable – When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.

Realistic- To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.

A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labour of love.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.

T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.

When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.

How do we do this?

SEO is primarily about two things – Content and Currency.

Search engines rank you for the content on your site. They crawl words within context looking for relevancy. They look for timeliness or recentness.

This has to be developed backwards from the goals.

First you have to develop an avatar or a generic target customer. You create a mythical person who is your ideal next customer – the person you want to be having that phone call with selling your services. Once you identify the problem that person has that you can solve for them, then you need to work out how they find you. E.g. what was the problem? What words did they type into google to start finding solutions to the problem? How did that then find your website? When they found your website (page on your site) how well did the words you wrote confirm for them that you know how to solve their problem and convince them to contact you?

This leads you or us then to the ability to write content for your site that meets this objective. The more pages that can be written describing the real problems your customers have and how your company solves them. The more keywords there are that can be crawled by the search engines and the higher you will rank for those keywords. Adding in external links and other reference material, and then being referenced by other sites, analysts, uni students doing assignments on that problem and writing websites about them, etc. will help your rankings.

SEM – paying for it

A natural extension to the first component is to start paying for the results using AdWords and click marketing. E.g. paying for your site to be ranked higher or in suggested or advertised results sections on searches for certain keywords. Note there is no point doing this until you are already ranking well for those keywords. Your site needs to already have good content with those words before you can do this effectively.

SMM or Social Media Marketing

A powerful tool to massively leverage the ability for people to find your content and also improve SEO is SMM. This is extending the content you write on your site out into social media space – LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter are probably the best places and definitely Facebook as well. Each space has a different set of “rules” and ways to work and Twitter and Facebook also have the ability for you to pay money to advertise.

How do we help?

We have a very specific targeted approach to this and can assist at any one of three levels:

  • We can do everything for you including writing the articles
  • We can assist you by doing the technical and web stuff after you have written the content yourself
  • We can teach you how to do it yourself and then stand back and let you go to it on your own.

Our approach is simple.

The first step is to have a planning meeting where we assist in working out goals, setting a timetable of 6-12 months for content creation, determining the scope – e.g. website alone or extending to Social Media

From there we can help you work out who does what and what the cost will be.

Each step we take helps you identify the goals, how will measure it – who does what and how much it will cost. No black box “pay $40 a week and we will get you onto page 1” false promises.

Contact us today if you want a free analysis of your website for the 7 most common mistakes most business websites make (Usually $199). If you want a free SEO cheat sheet email and I will send one to you.

Is Your WordPress site secure?

wordpress-logoWordPress is one of the most popular CMS (Content Management System) website software out there. We have developed a lot of WordPress sites for our clients. What many people don't realise is that both the WordPress core system and all of the available WordPress plugins are vulnerable to hacking, and need to be monitored and kept up to date on a regular basis.

Keeping your website up to date will help safeguard and eliminate uninvited intruders or bugs on your site.

Nearly all of our clients take the approach to allow us to manage all aspects of the domain name management, hosting, development and ongoing maintenance. However we do allow our clients the flexibility to host elsewhere, manage the site and maintenance themselves if they wish.

Obviously we can’t be responsible for their site if issues occur if they’re choosing to host elsewhere or managing the site themselves. And unfortunately some people fail to keep their ‘versions’ of software and plugins up to date, again causing possible opportunities for hacking. The lack of updates, coupled with poor hosting environments can leave a website wide-open for security threats.

But time and time again, we have clients who do it themselves come to us pleading for us to help them out of a horrible hosting mess or to fix the site when it gets hacked or goes down.

Where there are WordPress sites there are hackers, and over time we’ve seen an increasing number of hacking attempts and malware on WordPress sites. We daily get reports from our managed sites indicating the targeted attacks occurring and the successful blocking of those attempts.

What Jethro does for our managed WordPress clients

  • Our servers are entirely owned and managed by us. There are no other resellers or websites on the server that we don’t have control of. When you host with crazy domains or any of the other cheap hosts you are subject to the fact that there are hundreds of not thousands of other sites on the same server – and while your site might not have any issues something happening to one of those other sites might cause your server to go down.
  • We monitor the servers constantly. Both at the server level where we receive text message and email notifications if something occurs, and at individual site level.
  • We harden the security of the default WordPress site way beyond the standard install. The standard install script most hosters offer for DIY leaves folders unprotected, easily guessable admin user names and no usually no password complexity requirements. We ensure that the site is as hard as possible to get to.
  • We don’t install 35 “that might be nice to have” plugins that may cause compatibility issues, security flaws or other issues. Every plugin we use has been tested over a long period of time, is compatible and has good developer maintenance.
  • We offer a maintenance service level agreement for all our clients that includes regular off server backups, plugin and core updates, documentation of all changes made and easy recovery if problems occur and active monitoring of the site.

Talk to us today about your WordPress website and ask us for a quick analysis of the site for potential problems. Better yet let us maintain this business asset for as little as $550 a year.

Welcome to the New Windows 10

Your Start screen

The Start menu is back—and it’s more personal, more organized, and more fun than before. Go to Start Windows logo icon on the taskbar on your keyboard. You'll find your most used apps on the left, the All apps list, and shortcuts to other locations on your PC, like File Explorer and Settings

win 10 start screen

Windows 10 Store

win 10 storeThe Store is a one-stop shop for music, videos, games, and apps.

Try out an app before you buy it, or pick a free one. Your Windows 10 apps will work on all your Windows 10 devices.

Application Switcher and Virtual Desktops

Click the application switcher for quick access to all your running apps. Or create and switch between virtual desktops.

win 10 desktops

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

All content © Tim Miller. Feel free to share or send these emails on. If you want to unsubscribe just reply with Unsubscribe in the subject.

Do NOT Upgrade Your Business PC to Windows 10 Yet

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There are several things that you must have right first. Of course you don’t have to have them right and you can ignore this warning and just go ahead and upgrade – your call. But I’m wanting to save you money so listen up!

I have now upgraded more than 10 machines including touch and non-touch laptops, various tablets, multiple screen PCs, single screen PCs, virtual machines and from a variety of Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 tech preview existing installs. None have had issues that couldn’t be solved. But there are some warnings in the list below. So either read carefully before proceeding or call us to manage tour upgrades in the best possible way to avoid disruption to your staff and customers.

Licensing – General Information

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Windows 10 is free to upgrade from qualifying Windows 7 or 8 versions. The version you are currently licensed with in Windows 7 or 8 is what will map to the version in Windows 10. The information provided by Microsoft is difficult to clearly figure out what is and isn’t the right way to do it – licensing has never been easy to understand and it’s still not. This website tells us exactly what is and isn’t qualifying, what it means for OEM licences.

Business licensing

Businesses should always be using the correct licence. Unfortunately many business owners go and buy a machine from a major retailer that is not correctly licensed for business. A home premium edition of Windows 7 or 8 will not translate into a Windows 10 Pro licence, and all businesses should be using Windows 10 Pro, not home. I won’t go into the significant differences here, but essentially to upgrade will require you to pay for the right license at some point. Either before upgrade, or after.

Installing v Upgrading

Upgrading an existing machine will use approx. 20 GB drive space, download approx. 3.5GB of data and is completely reversible. The process itself installs the operating system side by side so reverting to the old system can be done very quickly if there is a failure or some other reason to revert. The benefits include keeping all your existing programs and data, most settings and personalisation exactly the way they were before. The cons are the same. You may want a clean slate!

There is a tool that can be used to upgrade multiple machines with only a single download. This can be installed on a USB key and used to either upgrade or install machines.

A fresh install is possible, but requires a valid license to install. The product key isn’t needed – it just validates online afterwards.

User Accounts

This is probably the most important reason for businesses NOT TO UPGRADE to Windows 10 just yet.

If you are a standalone PC user who doesn’t have office 365 then ignore this section. If you have Office 365 or a server or business network DO NOT IGNORE THIS.

Authentication and security is one of the biggest reasons to use Windows 10. For businesses one of their single biggest points of risk is cyber security, stolen or hacked passwords, unauthorised access, crypto virus attacks, and other security threats. Can you imagine calling your insurance broker to advise that your staff members corporate laptop or phone has been lost or stolen and having this conversation?

  1. Is there confidential information on that device, e.g. email, customer data, credit card information, passwords or unsecure access to corporate data systems?
  2. Is the hard drive encrypted?
  3. Can it be remotely wiped?

It’s likely you answered Yes, No and No respectively. If so you may be in a lot of trouble. Possibly the best case scenario is that all that happens is that you get a massive premium hike. Worst case – they might refuse to accept a claim and if someone uses that information you could face a court case for failure to protect private information, being audited by your bank for your merchant processes, and potentially having your merchant facilities reviewed or cancelled (imagine trading without an EFTPOS machine).

Windows 10 is designed from the ground up to be more secure, and there are lots of new advancements. Some of these will not be noticeable until new hardware supporting it comes out in the future.

So the first thing most people are faced with when upgrading is to provide a user account and password. The big question is which one do you use?

You have potentially 4 choices

  • Microsoft Account (default)
  • Office 365 Account
  • Local domain account
  • Local machine account

Knowing which one and why, and how, is what you pay me to do for you. This is a complex situation with the answers specific to each business so I won’t explain the differences here. Call me to upgrade!

Compatibility

Probably the biggest concern people have is, ”will my programs still work on Windows 10?” the answer is more than likely yes. Very old written for DOS or Windows 95 programs probably won’t work, but then they probably didn’t work on Windows 7 or 8 either. The upgrade process runs a compatibility check ensuring that applications and drivers are compatible. Generally they are. See the next section for exceptions.

Hardware

There are a number of exceptions to compatibility relating to hardware.

First of all let me say that generally if a machine was able to run Windows 7 or 8 it will be able to run Windows 10. This means that machines that are using Intel Gen 2 and 3 chipsets and motherboards are able to be given a new lease of life. And of course Gen 4 and the new Gen 5 chips are going to work. (Similarly with AMD but we generally don’t recommend or sell AMD CPUs and motherboards.)

How to find your chipset generation

Open My PC (Win + E keys) Right click My PC and go to properties. You should see this screen. The number after the Core TM ix (3/5/7) is the key. If it starts with a 2 its Gen 2, a 3, Gen 3, a 4, Gen 4, and 5 is the current latest chipset. Mine below is a Core i7 4771 so a Gen 4 machine.windows 10

The difficulties start with age and manufacture support. New machines will have manufacture support with drivers built for the Windows 10 OS released on their support websites. Older machines may but often don’t and very old machines definitely won’t. This isn’t generally an issue. Most essential motherboard drivers are updated by Microsoft via Windows update anyway. It is only very hardware specific drivers like built in webcams, Bluetooth and old Wi-Fi systems that might stop working. If you have an old machine (old is more Gen 3 or older and is likely on an old motherboard) than definitely contact us first.

Video Cards

The other specific issue I have encountered a number of times is with video card drivers. If you don’t have a separate video card ignore this section. NVidia have released new drivers for all their supported cards which is most going back a long way. I found drivers for 6 year old cards. The Windows 10 upgrade will drop the Windows 7/8 drivers and revert to a standard Microsoft one. Thus you will see the screen but in very low resolution and generally no multiple monitor support. The solution is to download the new drivers (preferably before you do the upgrade because of Java issues (see next section)).

Java

Oh how I hate Java! And I'm not alone. Chrome also hates it – and IE puts up with it. It seems Firefox is the only browser that really likes it. Windows 10 will probably mean an un-install and reinstall of Java. And to do it means using IE not Edge, the new browser in Windows 10. And of course Windows makes Edge the default browser when doing the upgrade. This is becoming a rant – but we now have a process to manage this for you if needed.

Contact us now to plan your upgrade to Windows 10.

How to not get ripped off when buying a “new” PC or laptop

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“The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.” Aldo Gucci.

This has never been any different in the past and probably won’t change in the future. And there are many companies out there offering up bargains on PCs and Laptops and tablets for those who don’t understand this age old maxim.

Before you go and buy a bargain for you, your school child or worse your business, please talk to us! I won’t charge you to advise you on your potential purchases. And of course if you are a business owner who we have developed a digital strategy for then of course we are doing this for you anyway.

See the section above about finding the chipset of your PC. The same chipset number system should be specified in the units being sold. I went and scanned the major computer retailers in Australia today for their lowest priced computers and laptops. It’s pretty safe to say that buying anything under $500 for a desktop and %700 for a laptop is a waste of time. You are likely purchasing something that has a 2nd or 3rg gen (in same cases even older) chip. While the unit is brand new this chip was manufactured possibly more than 5 years ago. It was not designed for today’s software or usage.

My recommendation is to always buy the most current chipset. The machines life then is measured in actual years from date of purchase and could be 4-5 and not by adding 2-4 years to that date and having an effective life of 2-3 years. Example, 6 years ago I bought a PC with the most expensive bleeding edge new Gen 3 chip I could find. That machine is still running solidly today (it has run nonstop almost 100% of that time) and is still going to be good for another 2-3 years. The investment at that point meant the machine hasn’t had to be replaced 3-4 years after purchase but will last twice as long. And it didn’t cost twice as much.

Talk to us about your device upgrade and replacement strategy today. Better yet let us develop a digital strategy for your business.

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As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

Did you know that Windows 10 is being released tomorrow?

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The world’s largest Software as a Service SaaS operating system release ever also marks the end of Windows as we know it. It will never again be released as an operating system the way we have known it up until now. Rather the company will begin releasing upgrades and future “versions” as streamed updates. I will talk about some of the changes in this edition as well as some important information. There are also some important changes for our Office 365 customers and I mention them also.

Telstra Increases Office 365 Pricing in line with Microsoft Changes

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Telstra announced a couple of days ago that they will be increasing Office 365 pricing across the board in line with Global Microsoft Price changes. However there are some important things to know.

First of all while Microsoft changes are as of 1 August, Telstra isn’t changing until 1 September so you get 1 more month to buy additional licences at the old price.

Second, the changes only impact you when you end your current contract period (this is the 12 month anniversary of your original subscription date).

When you login to Telstra Apps Marketplace you should be able to see a table that lists your services and the contract period. This Telstra Apps Marketplace FAQ webpage has step by step instructions on how to see this.

Contact us now if you would like to learn more about taking advantage of the current pricing or how the new pricing changes coming in September will affect you.

Windows 10 is Coming Tomorrow

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In a major change starting 29th July 2015 Microsoft is ending the Operating System version process as we have known it since at least 1995 when they released Windows 95. From now on all updates will be released as they are tested and made available to all users around the world via the internet. No longer will your operating system be old or out of date. For a 12 month period all existing Windows 7 and Windows 8 /8.1 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 19 for free as well. New machines will be sold with Windows 10 installed and will then update online to the current version.

The upgrade process is fairly simple. Once the upgrades are made available to you (there is a staged release cycle so not everyone will get it on the 29th necessarily) your computer will run preliminary checks to ensure that both the existing hardware is capable of supporting Windows 10 and that you have no known issues with the upgrade. The upgrade will commence and the existing operating system will be rolled back if it experiences problems. There will be no loss of data in either case. Applications will continue to work and your connected peripherals (providing they are compatible) will continue working.

We are recommending that customers ask us to run this for them. Of course if you want to do it yourself you can and we don’t anticipate issues for those of you who are not running server based networks. We suggest waiting for all those businesses with a server and asking us to book a time to manage the upgrade over a weekend or some other time when we can have the least down time for your staff.

Talk to us about Upgrading today. We are anticipating a number of our customers to upgrade from Windows 7 fairly soon so will need to book you in sometime in August or September.

We have some special deals – we will charge only $149 for a single machine upgrade (ensuring we have a backup first). Talk to us about bulk machine pricing.

Windows 10 Changes from Windows 7 and 8 /8.1

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One of the biggest changes is the revised start screen. It brings back the familiar Windows 7 interface with windows 8.1 live tiles. It is fully customisable and apps can be dragged and dropped, resized and added to groups. Unlike Windows 8 this start screen personalisation will not sync to all your devices as individual devices have different uses and different screen sizes so can be personalised individually.

windows 10 notificationsNote all the familiar icons can be pinned to the taskbar as in 7 and 8. The new icon directly to the right of the search box is the app switcher – allowing the ALT TAB application switching command to be clicked or touched.

Modern or touch screen apps from windows 8 can now run in a window and do not have to be full screen.

Touch Devices, tablets and 2 in 1 devices will automatically identify what mode they are in, keyboard or touch and change automatically. This can be set to ask you before changing. However it makes the rapid transition from a touch device to a keyboard interface very simple.

A new notification centre on the right hand side (similar to android phone and tablets and windows phone notifications centres) displays on the right hand side and also allows quick access to settings.

Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10 is a Potential Security Risk

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Most people use a wireless network or Wi-Fi access via their home or office modems for mobile devices including phones, tablets, laptops and even desktop PCs. There is a new setting in Windows 10 called Wi-Fi Sense. By default this is turned on but can be easily switched off. However turning it on can create a potential security risk as it allows you to share your Wi-Fi network settings to your friends so they can access your network. Doing this allows them to also share that with their friends. There is a solution and that is to change the name of your Wireless Access Point or SSID. These links explain the Wi-Fi Sense settings:

http://www.howtogeek.com/219700/what-is-wi-fi-sense-and-why-does-it-want-your-facebook-account/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/06/30/windows_10_wi_fi_sense/

And this page tells you how to change your SSID. It will need to be named with an “_optout” at the end.

we can re-configure your router remotely quickly and easily

Follow us on Social Media

As always Jethro is your web, cloud and technology specialists. I am constantly learning new things and spending time researching, playing and testing new systems and reading about other people in the IT world doing the same thing. If you want to follow along with what I share in various spaces then connect with me:

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What people say..

I learnt some points that enable me to look at my business in the (way) that will improve my bottom line. Thanks Tim and Ian.

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