Author Archives: Anton Ruighaver

Windows Server 2003 – End of Support – 7-14-15

July 14, 2015 marks a major transition, this is the date Microsoft stops releasing critical patches and officially ends support for Windows Server 2003. While this date may seem distant, now is the time to understand that the end of support and the end of life of Windows Server 2003 means that your business needs to ensure that it has a plan to migrate the applications and workloads currently relying on Windows Server 2003 onto Windows Server 2012 R2. Just to be clear, End-of-Support for Windows Server 2003 means: We urge you to start your planning to migrate off of Windows Server 2003 and onto a platform that will provide you the security and reliability that you’ve experienced over the last decade with Windows Server 2003, with the added value of the features now included in Windows Server 2012 R2. … READ MORE »

2015 New Year’s Computer Security Checklist

This checklist will help you make and keep your PC more secure. Over time, security holes are discovered in all computers’ operating systems and the software that runs on them. These risks need to be patched to keep your system and personal information safe. We’re rolling this list out for the start of 2015, but recommend it be adhered to consistently. 1. Make sure your operating system is up to date We recommend current systems have at least Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, which will be supported until 2020. If you’re running Windows 8.0, we highly recommend that it be upgraded to 8.1 to be sure you have the most secure version. 2. Check Windows Update settings Verify that your computer is set to automatically download and install at least critical updates frequently. Better yet, have your updates managed by TECHLINQ … READ MORE »

Is an Android tablet on your loved-ones wish list? Learn how to choose the right one…

One of the most popular gifts this holiday season is the tablet, and more specifically the Android tablet. Because there are so many different options to choose from, it can be difficult to actually choose the right tablet to give as a gift. To help, we came up with some important factors to consider before you purchase your festive gift. Consider your budget The great thing about Android is that there are tablets available for a wide budget range; from the ridiculously affordable, yet highly praised, Amazon Fire HD 6 ($99 on Amazon.com), to the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy Tab S ($350-$400 in stores). Look at reviews online There are a ton of websites dedicated to reviewing tablets and other mobile devices. Take, for example, the well-known Engadget or Trusted Reviews. Sites like these generally give a good overview of the … READ MORE »

What, exactly, is Net Neutrality and what does it mean to my business?

In many western countries we are blessed with a free and open Internet, but in the US there is a battle currently raging over the idea of Net Neutrality. Chances are high that you will have heard this term thrown around by various experts and media outlets. In November, President Obama took a stance on this issue. Here is an overview of Net Neutrality, the stance from The White House, and what this could mean for your company. What is Net Neutrality? In order to define Net Neutrality, we should first look at the main idea behind what the Internet is: a free and open medium where individuals can express and house thoughts, ideas, and more. It was founded on one principal, and one principal alone: All information and Internet traffic MUST be treated equally. This free, open, and fair … READ MORE »

When is the right time to update your technology?

Technology is an integral part of any business. The problem this presents is that technology ages and eventually needs to be replaced. With the sheer volume of new systems and hardware components being introduced on a daily basis, it can be daunting to determine whether you should upgrade or not. Here are five signs that you should consider when making a decision to update your business’s hardware, software, and/or infrastructure. 1. Replacement parts are difficult to find for your existing technology… Computers, servers, and even mobile devices are made up of a number of components that rely on other parts in order to operate properly. If one breaks down, there is a good chance that the whole system will stop working. For many newer pieces of hardware and systems, replacements are easy to come by. But, if something breaks and … READ MORE »

Can you expand a bit more on the threat posed by malicious social engineering?

Microsoft calls your office referencing a security threat you recognize as very recently being in the news. The Caller ID shows “Microsoft, Redmond, WA” and the representative is very well spoken and pleasant. He has an excellent answer for every cynical question you ask, and emphasizes the urgency of the situation. He states that Microsoft takes its commitment to the security of its customers very seriously, and this is why they’re contacting licensed owners of Windows 7 Professional to immediately patch this critical security flaw. He just needs to walk you through going to a website to install a remote access agent… What do you do? This is the hallmark of a current targeted social engineering scam that has so far resulted in many thousands of systems and networks being compromised, with immeasurable consequences. What’s worse is that they appear … READ MORE »

What are some best practices for avoiding current and new security threats?

Nobody wants to acknowledge it, but it’s true… Hackers are getting smarter and far more creative with the methods they use to try to acquire your trust, sensitive information, and money. The methods they now employ go far beyond their attempts to install malware on your computer or device. There is a growing trend toward mimicking legitimate companies and their websites to gain your confidence and entice you to reveal information you would never should to even a perceived “trusted” source. Many recognize the Nigerian 419 e-mail scam as the beginning of the modern confidence game, playing on trust and promises of untold riches, even skeptical people fell victim to it in greater numbers than anyone could believe. Recently, a particularly nasty piece of malware called “CryptoLocker” encrypted infected users files and demanded a $300 to $1,000 payment to provide … READ MORE »

What are some ways to get more relevant and accurate internet search results?

Let’s face it; searching the internet can be a frustrating endeavor. In some ways it’s almost a struggle between you, searching for the exact information you need, and the millions of advertisers trying to entice you into looking at what they want you to see, namely their products or services. This may seem like a losing battle, but there are some ways to effectively narrow down your results to sites that are far more likely to take you to the information you seek. You just need to know how search engines like Google “think”. Although most search engines are trying to employ a more human element in the way they structure and display results, the fact remains that they are still very logical in their approach to providing results to queries, and you can use that to your advantage. Here … READ MORE »

Why did I get malware even though I have AntiVirus?

There are actually a number of reasons this can happen. First, although the lines are blurring, it helps to have a better understanding of the different objectives that viruses and malware typically have. Malware is traditionally designed to gather and extract personal information or to cripple a system and demand money to “fix” the problem. Most malware is contracted through either clicking on a link / attachment in an e-mail, or inadvertently allowing its installation when attempting to download what is thought to be a trusted update or application. A virus is generally designed to wreak havoc and cause destruction of data. Most AntiVirus applications do provide at least some protection against malware, but the people who develop malware rely on it for revenue, so they’re always looking for new ways to exploit systems. This immediately prompts the security companies … READ MORE »

Why a Blog?

Recently, I was shocked to realize how much writing and documenting I’ve done over the years. Many of the topics were for articles or talks that I was giving at technology industry events or local chamber meetings. Others were more focused on implementation documentation or overviews of client situations, issues, or events. Still more were technology solution recommendations. I’ve created this blog to refresh and share some of these items, and provide a little insight into some of the current IT trends that are affecting small business owners. My primary goal is to educate a lot, entertain a little, and hopefully help business owners understand how they can leverage technology to help them grow. There’s a good chance that I’ll provide occasional insight into some of my interests beyond technology here as well, so feel free to share your comments … READ MORE »