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5 Ways to Stay Safe in a Social World

5 Ways to Stay Safe in a Social World

In today’s world, having a Social Media profile is as common as the air we breathe. Social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all around us, with new profiles created daily. According to an eMarketer report, one in four people use some sort of social media network.

With more people using Social Media, new security threats have appeared. Help protect yourself from Social Media threats with these helpful tips.

  1. Make your account passwords difficult to decipher. Avoid using personal information like birthdays, names, or interests as passwords. Instead, use a mixture of letters, numbers, and punctuation to create your password. You can also use a password generator to help create secure passwords. Use a password manager, like LastPass, to help generate and store your passwords securely and easily.
  2. Familiarize yourself with your social network security settings. Most social networks have security settings to help filter what information people can see and who can view your posts.
  3. Avoid clicking on advertisements. Some advertisements may have attached viruses that can cause problems on your computer. Also, some advertisements can lead to fake sites that are used by criminals to obtain private information from you. A good rule to follow: don’t click if you don’t know.
  4. Be careful of what you post onto your Social Media profiles. Criminals can use your personal information you provide via Social Media to decipher passwords and break the walls of security on any of your accounts, including email and banking accounts.
  5. Be aware of who you’re friending on social networks. Fake profiles can be created by criminals who can use these profiles to obtain private information from your profile. If you receive requests from people you don’t recognize, check the name, pictures, and content of their profile to see if anything seems familiar to you. If nothing seems familiar, do not add them, as it may be a fake profile. Try to only ‘friend’ profiles of known people that you feel comfortable allowing access to your profile.

For more information on cyber security, and in honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, check out staysafeonline.org/ncsam

Have a Social Media security tip? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

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Get Ready… the Audits are Coming!

Get Ready… the Audits are Coming!

When most people hear the word audit, their first reaction is panic and stress even when they are fully compliant.  It’s part of our human nature to want to do the right thing and also to worry when someone else is checking us.

 

We’ve recently seen an increase in audits of Microsoft Licensing.  Many organizations have reported being audited by Microsoft within the past twelve months.  It’s part of the Terms and Conditions that all users agree to with Microsoft that allows them to audit and also allows you to use their software.  If your organization hasn’t been audited yet, Great!  But you should expect it to be coming.

 

In the past, most licensing audits were performed by the BSA, Business Software Alliance.  Many of these audits were prompted from reports from workers, current or past, who would report non-compliance issues.  While this is still one method triggering audits, there are a few others that stand out as possible reasons Microsoft is auditing companies.  Microsoft may look at a company’s purchase history.  For instance, if it’s been five or more years since a company has purchased licensing, Microsoft may look to check as there have been many new technology and license changes to their software during that time.  An audit could also be driven by the amount of licenses a company has purchased.  For instance, if a company purchased 150 exchange licenses but only 20 copies of Office licenses this may be questioned since Office uses Outlook, they may want to know how the company is using Exchange.  While we don’t always know what initiates a company to be audited, it’s better to bet on the fact that your day will come.

 

The best thing to do is to self-audit; to double check that your company is compliant.  You’ll want to gather and organize receipts and authorization documents for all software and systems.  Regardless of the reason that your company might not have the correct amount of licenses, its best to true-up and become compliant in case you get audited, or just because it’s the right thing to do.  If your company needs help with this let us know, we can help!  Just fill out the form below if you’d like to receive more information about how we can help your business.  There’s no reason that an audit needs to induce panic and stress.

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Rumors Become Truth: Windows 10 Unveiled

Rumors Become Truth: Windows 10 Unveiled

Recently we wrote a blog about the upcoming Microsoft announcement of the rumored Windows 9. Yesterday, Microsoft revealed the new name and look of the new Windows, Windows 10.

With over 1.5 billion people using Windows, Microsoft is working to make Windows 10 a “one application platform” across all devices. As stated in yesterday’s reveal, “Windows 10 will be [Microsoft’s] most comprehensive platform, ever.”

Windows 10 will be built to focus on a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Microsoft explains Windows 10 as having “the familiarity of Windows 7 with some of the elements of Windows 8”.

Some of the features of Windows 10 include:

  • Incorporating the Start button with the application tiles. This allows you to stay on one screen rather than navigate between the touch screen and desktop screen like in Windows 8.
  • Ability to change the size of the Start Menu and tiles within it to your liking.
  • A more advanced searching system, including web results.
  • Keeping the Charm Bar, but modifying it to accommodate more touch screen users.
  • Separating corporate and personal data across devices.
  • Keeping the snap view for classic and universal apps that users know from Windows 7.
  • A multiple desktop. Users can switch between different desktops to keep apps running in their own areas.
  • Ability to paste directories into the command prompt with CTRL + V.
  • A “continuum” feature for two-in-ones to change modes based on touch and keyboard input.

Today, October 1, 2014, Microsoft is releasing a preview of Windows 10 with the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft is encouraging consumer feedback from the preview, in hopes to create a product everyone will enjoy. The actual release of Windows 10 is planned for late 2015.

Want to check out the preview and add your input? Check it out at preview.windows.com.

What are your thoughts on Windows 10? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

Windows 9: The New “Threshold”

Windows 9: The New “Threshold”

On September 30, 2014, Microsoft plans on unveiling Windows 9 (also known as “Threshold”), although exact details of Microsoft’s announcement are still unclear. Even though Windows 8.1 was recently released, Windows 9 is rumored to address the touchscreen-friendly interface concerns that made some PC users flustered.

With recent leaks released, the interface is being thrown back to Windows 7 with just a touch of Windows 8. Microsoft is planning on bringing back the start button (known to Windows 7), with accessibility to the application tiles (known on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1) on the right side.

Windows 9 is also planning on a better notification system that allows you to view all of your notifications in one place, if you so choose, rather than only the brief alert system currently enabled (similar to a cell phone).

Rumors have circulated that the Charm Bar (the menu bar that pops up on your computer screen when you hover your cursor over the right corner) may be deleted from Windows 9. Whether the Charm Bar stays or goes is still unknown.

Microsoft hopes that the release of Windows 9 will be the last major overhaul for a while. Anything soon after the Windows 9 release will be maintenance and upgrading into the future.

How do you feel about the upcoming Windows 9 release? Do you enjoy using Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn, or tweet us @atnetplus

After All the Hype and Rumor – Apple Reveals It All

After All the Hype and Rumor – Apple Reveals It All

Today, Apple announced some new products and features at the Flint Center in California (originally where the first Mac was unveiled). The announcement was broadcast live via apple.com.

With the excitement of the rumored iPhone 6, people began camping outside Apple stores earlier this week with anticipation of possible releases. Mock up pictures of the “new iPhone 6” have been posted throughout the Internet, all re-imagining what Apple has been rumored to release.

Not only was the new iPhone announced, the Apple Watch and Apple Pay were also on the announcement list.

Here is a roundup of products and features that Apple is releasing, announced via their live webcast:

 

  • iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which will include:
    • Bigger screens (the iPhone 6 being slightly smaller than the iPhone 6 Plus) and a curvier look. Each phone will be offered in gold, silver, and space gray. New cases will also be available in both elastic and leather.
    • The new phones will run games just as good as a gaming console.
    • Equal or better battery life than the iPhone 5s.
    • Motion sensors that can tell you how many steps you have taken and measure your distance and elevation.
    • New wireless capabilities that include faster LTE.
    • Clearer phone calls and the ability to make a standard call using a Wi-Fi Network.
    • Enhanced photo taking. With focus pixels, the camera on both phones will have better auto focus. You can also take macro photos and bigger panoramas. Enhanced video capabilities with continuous autofocus.
    • The starting cost is $199, and increases to $299 and $399 depending on the amount of storage; all with 2 year contract.
    • iOS 8, that comes with Touch ID. It will be available for download on September 17, 2014.
    • Both phones will be available for preorder on September 12, 2014. They will ship in the US on September 19, 2014.

 

  • Apple Pay will allow consumers to use their credit cards on their phones at participating locations.
    • Adding a credit card to the system will be simple. Just take a picture of the card and get it verified by your bank.
    • All transactions are private, only known between you, the vendor, and your bank.
    • Participating locations will include: Subway, McDonalds, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Disney, and all Apple stores.
    • You can order items online more effectively and securely.
    • There is no cost for Apple Pay and will be available in October.

 

  • Apple Watch – a brand new product from Apple will change the way you see a watch. Features include:
    • Customization of both the interface and straps (band) for a more personal appearance and capability.
    • The straps are easily interchangeable, as well as sweat and chemical resistant. Apple Watch can be worn all day for any occasion.
    • Both a smaller and larger version of the watch to fit everyone.
    • It becomes a health and fitness device with motion sensors that keep track of your footsteps and heart beat (while taking your pulse).
    • To navigate the smaller screen, you use the watch’s digital crown (knob).
    • You can communicate by a simple tap, drawing a picture, or even by your own heartbeat.
    • Interactive, animated emojis of which you can customize the facial expressions.
    • Watch Kit, which allows developers to highly customize and work with Apple. It is also more involved with third-party applications.
    • Apple Watch can unlock a hotel door with a scanning feature.
    • Apple TV can be controlled using the watch
    • When riding public transportation, Apple Watch even reminds you to get off at your stop.
    • It is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
    • It comes with a wireless, magnetic charger.
    • The Apple Watch will start at $349 and will be available early next year.

 

What new features and products are you excited for? Let us know on Facebook or tweet us @atnetplus

Want learn more about iOS 8? Check out our blog

Future Forecast: “The Cloud Is In!”

Future Forecast: “The Cloud Is In!”

When you think of the word “cloud” what first comes to mind? Huge, fluffy, white puffs of condensed water floating in the sky? While that does describe clouds, I’m thinking of a different kind of cloud.

In the IT world, cloud means “location-independent computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand”. Simply put, the cloud allows you to access and store your data and programs through the Internet. Before the invention of the cloud, all of your data and programs were stored on your hard drive (and still is if you do not have cloud services).

Cloud computing is a growing trend, but why? Why would you migrate your information to the Internet, rather than your hard drive? There are many reasons why cloud is beneficial. Here are a few:

  • It is environmentally better. With the cloud, businesses use less hardware, thus reducing landfill waste.
  • It can cost less, although with other considerations. With less hardware used, the less hardware you have to buy. Also you only pay for what you use.
  • It allows for more universal access.
  • It allows you to choose the best options for your needs, while also allowing you to customize the amount and access for the items you use.
  • Elasticity allows for easier and more efficient changes to the cloud. For example, if you want to add 5 people into the cloud along with your other 5 employees, you can do so without having to buy new hardware. Likewise, if you have to get rid of those extra 5 people, you won’t have extra hardware you don’t need anymore.

The one main impact that can arise with using the cloud is Internet outages. If your Internet connection is lost, you cannot access your cloud. Most recently, Microsoft Azure (a cloud platform: a system where software applications run in an environment composed of utility cloud services) experienced a global outage on August 18, 2014, lasting for 5 hours. Issues like that don’t occur often, but they do occur. Nothing is without its flaws.

How do you start using cloud? First, know the different models of clouds.

  • Public – This model of cloud is shared between multiple individuals. Examples include Microsoft, Amazon (of which Netflix is owned. Yes, Netflix is a part of the cloud), and Google.
  • Private – Used for more individual, personal purposes.
  • Hybrid – Combines both the public and private cloud models.

Second, pick a cloud platform. Think of it similar to how the electric company runs the electricity to your home. The platform is the electric company, and the cloud is the electricity. You even pay for it like you would any utility bill; you pay for what you use.

Microsoft Azure is one platform that is gaining popularity. They have a good platform and offer a number of services to help you maintain your business in the cloud.

AtNetPlus offers multiple cloud services as well; from migrating to the cloud to assisting with cloud maintenance.

Have questions?  Comment below.

Cloud Questions

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  • 5 Ways to Stay Safe in a Social World
    In today’s world, having a Social Media profile is as common as the air we breathe. Social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all around us, with new profiles created daily. According to an...
    Read more